BBB National Programs Archive

CARU Recommends CEC Modify Chuck E. Cheese Website, Company Agrees To Do So

New York, NY – April 23,  2009 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) of the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc., has recommended that that CEC Entertainment, operator of the Chuck E. Cheese Website, modify the Website to provide a neutral age-screening mechanism and include appropriate corporate contact information. The company has agreed to do so.

CARU, the children’s advertising industry’s self-regulatory forum, monitors Websites for compliance with CARU’s Self-Regulatory Program for Children’s Advertisingincluding guidelines on Online Privacy Protection, as well as with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. COPPA.

The Chuck E. Cheese Website provides visitors with information about Chuck E. Cheese restaurants, as well as games and promotional information for children. The Website’s homepage invites visitors to “Join the Chuck E-Club and receive our best one-time special offer plus exclusive coupons, promotions and birthday specials.”

To join the Chuck E-Club, a registrant must first submit a year of birth and then an email address.  Upon its initial review, CARU determined that when potential registrants submitted a year of birth reflecting an age under 13, the following language appeared: “Chuck E. Cheese takes children’s on-line privacy very seriously. Based on the information provided, access has been denied to this area of the site for 24 hours.  Please wait 24 hours before trying again.”

CARU also determined that the Website’s privacy policy did not include the operator’s contact information as required by COPPA.

Following its review CARU recommended that the site operator employ a neutral age-screening mechanism, including a tracking device to prevent visitors from circumventing the screening process; modify that the registration process to eliminate language that acted as a tip-off to under-age children and adequately disclose corporate contact information as required by COPPA.

Although the operator asserted that the site was in compliance with CARU’s guidelines and COPPA, it agreed to make the recommended changes “in the spirit of self-regulation.”