Safeguards and Parental Controls

Online safety has been of utmost importance as we've developed MilitaryKidsConnect.org. We have incorporated the following safeguards and parental controls into the website in order to protect our young users.

  1. While we want the site to be easily accessible to kids, we also clearly convey this website is intended for military youth. Users of MilitaryKidsConnect.org are reminded at several points throughout the website that it was developed and has been designed for military youth or individuals connected to military youth.
  2. The wide age range of anticipated users, ages 6 to 17, requires an equally wide range of activities. Some of these activities may not be age appropriate for younger kids to view by themselves. The creation of 3 different age tracks was developed to distinguish those activities appropriate for each age range. There is the "Kid" track for our youngest users (ages 6 - 8), the "Tween" track for kids a bit older (ages 9 - 12, and the "Teen" track for our teenage users (ages 13 - 17).
  3. Sensitive site content (such as more emotional videos or videos that deal with adolescent issues) is further protected by asking users to input their year of birth. (To see a description of the video content, click on the "Video" link above. To view the videos, first go to our Welcome Page and select a kids' track. Then select "Videos" in the menu bar.)
  4. As per the Children' Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), no personally identifiable information (i.e., children' names, age or email addresses) is requested or collected from children participating on MilitaryKidsConnect.org.
  5. Social network access is given only to tweens and teens, and only with parental consent. All users are required to provide their parent's email address when they register for the social network and wait for parent's approval before they can access the network. As part of the registration process, parents confirm the appropriate age track for their child to access.
  6. Safety tips are provided throughout the site. At login, kids are reminded to not use any personally identifiable information as part of their username (because other users will see it) and to not share their password. To participate in the social network, all users will be required to first take an age appropriate tutorial that talks about safety issues in a fun way. Military operational security (OPSEC) will also be included in the tutorial where kids are reminded to not post information that could in any way jeopardize military members.
  7. Moderating safeguards are in place on the social network, including both electronic and human oversight in varying degrees. Users are also encouraged to report concerns or safety issues for review.

Message Boards

Research suggests that military children and families with strong support systems are better able to handle a caregiver's deployment. While family is often the primary support for military youth, older kids and teenagers also look to their friends for support. But many military youth have difficulty finding peers who really understand their circumstances. A significant number of active duty families do not live on military installations but are spread throughout the surrounding communities. Reserve and National Guard units are even more widely dispersed. As a result, many military kids have little regular contact with peers who really understand their situation.

The MilitaryKidsConnect.org social network provides the opportunity for military youth to communicate with other kids in similar situations from all over the country and world to discuss topics that matter to them. Currently, only message boards (also called forums or bulletin boards) are offered on our site with no private messages allowed. On these message boards, kids can post questions or comments on any topic and read responses by other kids. With a parent' help at registration, we make sure that children can only "network" with other kids in their age range. More information on safeguards is available in our Terms of Use Agreements.