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August 23, 2023

Comparing COPPA and CIPA

Comparing COPPA and CIPA. This week you examined two seemingly related laws: COPPA and CIPA. They are related because they both tend to protect children. Yet, as you read, they do not even agree on what a “child” is. In this Discussion, therefore, it is time to start analyzing these complicated, complex legal concepts. What are some distinctions between COPPA and CIPA? Similarities? Describe an organization that might be subject to both laws, and explain why you believe they both may apply. Why do you believe that these two laws define “child” differently? Is it rational to do so? Lastly, feel free to add further analyses or commentary that reflects your understanding of the two related but distinct laws.


In an increasingly digital world, safeguarding the privacy and well-being of children online is of paramount importance. Two crucial laws in the United States that address these concerns are the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA). In this paper, we will explore the distinctions and similarities between COPPA and CIPA, examine an organization that may be subject to both laws, and discuss the rationale behind the differing definitions of “child” in these regulations. Additionally, we will provide further analysis and commentary on these related but distinct laws.

Distinctions and Similarities between COPPA and CIPA

 Scope and Purpose

COPPA primarily focuses on protecting the online privacy of children under the age of 13. It requires operators of websites and online services to obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children. CIPA, on the other hand, concentrates on promoting internet safety in schools and libraries by implementing filtering mechanisms to restrict access to explicit or harmful content.


COPPA applies to operators of commercial websites and online services directed towards children or that knowingly collect personal information from children. CIPA applies to schools and libraries that receive federal funding for internet access, requiring them to employ filtering technologies to protect minors from potentially harmful material.

Key Provisions

COPPA mandates obtaining verifiable parental consent, providing parents with control over their child’s personal information. It also requires the establishment of privacy policies and secure data storage practices. CIPA requires schools and libraries to use internet filtering technologies, implement internet safety policies, and provide education on appropriate online behavior.

Comparing COPPA and CIPA

An Organization Subject to Both Laws

An organization that may be subject to both COPPA and CIPA is a K-12 educational technology provider. These providers develop and offer online platforms, applications, or services designed for use in schools. They often involve collecting personal information from students under 13 years old and operate in an educational setting that receives federal funding for internet access.

COPPA would apply because the organization’s services are directed towards children under 13, requiring them to obtain verifiable parental consent before collecting any personal information. Meanwhile, CIPA would apply because the organization’s services are utilized in schools that receive federal funding, necessitating the implementation of internet filtering measures and compliance with internet safety policies. Comparing COPPA and CIPA.

Differing Definitions of “Child”

The differing definitions of “child” in COPPA and CIPA reflect the varying focuses and objectives of the two laws. COPPA defines a child as an individual under the age of 13, considering the vulnerability and limited capacity of young children to understand privacy risks and make informed decisions. This definition aligns with the goal of protecting young children from potential online privacy breaches.

CIPA, however, does not provide an explicit definition of a child. Instead, it refers to minors who use computers at schools and libraries. This broader definition acknowledges that children of varying ages may access the internet in educational settings and emphasizes the importance of shielding all minors from inappropriate or harmful online content.

The differing definitions can be seen as rational due to the distinct goals and contexts of each law. COPPA aims to safeguard young children’s privacy specifically, recognizing their unique vulnerability. CIPA, on the other hand, concentrates on internet safety in educational institutions, acknowledging that minors of various ages may be exposed to potential risks online.

Further Analysis and Commentary

While COPPA and CIPA have distinct focuses, they share a common objective of protecting children online. It is essential for organizations subject to both laws to implement robust privacy practices and internet safety measures. Additionally, policymakers should continue to evaluate and update these laws to address emerging challenges and technological advancements. Striking a balance between privacy protection, internet safety, and educational access will be crucial in ensuring the well-being and rights of children in an increasingly connected world.


Comparing COPPA and CIPA. COPPA and CIPA play vital roles in safeguarding children’s privacy and internet safety. While they differ in scope, applicability, and definitions, both laws contribute to the protection of children online. By understanding the distinctions and similarities between COPPA and CIPA, organizations and policymakers can work towards creating a safer digital environment for children. Use APA referencing style.

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