The Internet Thinks Your 13-Year-Old Is An Adult

dad2summit2020 Dad 2.0 Summit, Announcements, Fatherhood on Friday

From the moment our kids are born, we launch into Protection Mode, purchasing steel-reinforced car seats, plugging the power outlets, and taking other precautions against the dangers we can see. As soon as a kid can hold a smartphone, though, it’s time to consider the dangers we can’t.

The story that dominated our discussions this week is this one about the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), a federal law which, despite its best intentions to protect our kids’ online data, has established 13 as the age of “Internet adulthood.” The Wall Street Journal’s Julie Jargon has written an interesting backstory of the legislation, which went into effect in 2000 (four years before “thefacebook” was launched), and despite a 2013 update (to include photos, videos, geolocation, and web cookies), the law still conjures more questions among parents and schools than it answers.

COPPA arose from a rare situation “where the interests of industry and the concerns of civil liberties groups aligned,” but its history of compromise has watered down its effectiveness, evidenced by complaints and lawsuits asserting the law is being circumvented or outright flouted.

As long as legislators dither over what’s best for our kids, the main line of defense remains with us parents. And that line is eroding quickly, due to pressures applied from both companies who want access to kids’ information, and kids who offer it up obliviously. It’s up to us to read the fine print about the services our kids use, because “kids who are too young to drive or vote can say and do things online that could haunt them forever.”


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“Dadfluencers [like Alexis Ohanian] are doing important, needle-moving work. The more people see fathers actively fathering, the more it becomes a normal part of society.”

When you think about it, the idea of giving kids money to do chores around the house is really bizarre.

Men so dominated American society in the early 20th century that establishing a special day to honor fathers was a rather silly and wholly unnecessary idea.”

The man who started Fathers New Mexico wants teen dads to remember that a dad is the most important man on the planet to his child. “Nobody had made me feel that important ever in my life.”

A lesson from this viral video of a dad wearing Daisy Dukes: Don’t skip Leg Day.

When it comes to assessing a dad’s parenting, there’s a molecularly fine line between “constructive” and “insulting.”

Volunteers spent Father’s Day packing toiletries for migrant dads who had just been released from custody and will head north to wait for their day in immigration court.

The new NYTParenting page will cover news and commentary about kids aged 6 and under. And hopefully include a lot of dads’ input (which we’re happy to help supply).

Thanks to the Generation Mom team for interviewing co-founder Doug French about fatherhood, masculinity, and the miraculousness of spousal communication. LISTEN HERE.



Photo by STEMShare NSW on Unsplash

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