BBB National Programs Archive
CARU Recommends SPIL Games Modify Website to Better Protect Children’s Privacy, Company Agrees to Do So
New York, NY – Jan. 10, 2013 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit recommended that SPIL Games, BV, operator of the website “GirlsGoGames.com,” modify the site to better protect the privacy of child visitors. The company has agreed to do so.
CARU is an investigative unit of the advertising industry’s self-regulatory system and it is administered by the Council of Better Business Bureaus.
The website, directed to children and teens, allows members to create profiles and individualized avatars, play and rate games, make friends and view profiles of others.
Upon its initial review of the site, CARU was concerned that the website did not employ a tracking mechanism as part of its age screening system. Further, CARU was concerned that the site allowed children to disclose personally identifiable information on member profile pages without first providing proper parental notice or obtaining verifiable parental consent and allowed children to register for the site using social media tools – including Facebook and Twitter – that do not permit participation by children under the age of 13.
In response to CARU’s inquiry, the operator installed a session cookie in its age-screening process to prevent underage children from going back and changing their ages.
For its registered users under 13, SPIL disabled all user-generated content in terms of wall posts and comments and changed the user names of under-13 members to pre-defined, white-listed, or randomly generated user names.
Going forward, the operator said, it will not accept new registrations from children under 13. While children under 13 will be able to play games at the site, they will not be allowed to post content.
Finally, the operator disabled the feature that allowed log-in through social media and removed links to Twitter.
SPIL Games, in its advertiser’s statement, said the company “appreciates the opportunity to participate in the self-regulatory process. We are pleased that CARU recognized our efforts and accept CARU’s recommendations.”