BBB National Programs Archive
CARU Recommends Sweety High, Inc. Modify Child-Directed Website To Better Protect Children’s Privacy
New York, NY – Dec. 17, 2009 – The Children’s Advertising Review Unit of the Council of Better Business Bureaus (CARU) has recommended that Sweety High, Inc., operator of the Website www.SweetyHigh.com take steps to better protect the privacy of children who visit the site. 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 Advertising, including guidelines on Online Privacy Protection, as well as with the federal Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA).
The Website came to the attention of CARU through a consumer complaint.
The Sweety High Website described itself as a social world for tween girls 10 and up. The Website homepage depicted four teenage girls in front of a school.
In response to CARU inquiry, the operator stated that the Sweety High Website is a test site, not yet publically launched and is only accessible through the use of an access code that was provided upon a user’s pre-registration.
The operator asserted that Sweety High does not advertise the Website or link to other Websites, but has partnered with mothers in local communities who have hosted parties to build awareness of the site. According to the operator, at these parties, girls were pre-registered for the Website in the presence of a parent.
The operator stated that at the time it received CARU’s letter, it had collected data from approximately 500 girls with approximately three-quarters of whom were pre-registered in-person at these events. Of this number, about 150 were under the age of 13. The operator asserted that the data collected had not been shared with any third parties nor had it been used to send communications to the pre-registrants.
CARU noted in its decision that it was pleased the operator participated in CARU’s self-regulatory program and agreed to implement changes to bring its privacy practices into compliance with the Guidelines and COPPA.
In its advertiser’s statement, Sweety High said it “accepts CARU’s decision in its entirety and appreciates CARU bringing its concerns to Sweety High’s attention. Sweety High is grateful for CARU’s recommendations which will help Sweety High realize its goal of creating a safe environment for girls online.”