What is KWS?
Kids Web Services (KWS) is a parent verification platform that makes it easy for developers to create safe and compliant digital experiences for young audiences.
The KWS platform includes the KWS Developer Portal, a simple web-based interface that enables you to manage your KWS accounts and set up a KWS service for your product(s).
The KWS Parent Verification (PV) service is a free service that enables developers to verify that the person designated as a parent by a user of their product is an adult. After initial collection of the parent's email address within the developer's own interface, KWS provides a web-based interface to perform the verification.
KWS terms and conditions
KWS General Terms and KWS Service Specific Terms - These are the terms relating to the use of the KWS services. If you are an admin user of KWS, and you choose (within the KWS Developer Portal) to use the Parent Verification service or any other KWS service, you must accept these terms.
Why do you need to verify the identity of parents?
Developers of digital services such as apps and games may need to verify the identity of parents who give consent for their children to use those services in order to comply with digital privacy laws such as COPPA and GDPR-K.
Disclaimer: Any information presented here is for informational purposes and is not legal advice. Consult your own legal counsel for guidance relating to your specific use case.
COPPA and GDPR-K overview
The USA's Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and certain provisions of the EU's and UK's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR-K) were created to protect under-16s' privacy online. Both laws have an extraterritorial scope, which means they are enforceable against companies based anywhere in the world that have users in the USA, EU or UK respectively.
What are the requirements of COPPA?
COPPA is a US federal law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) that regulates the online collection and use of personal information from children under the age of 13. It imposes certain requirements on online operators who direct their websites, apps, or online services to children under the age of 13 and requires them to obtain verifiable consent from the children's parents before collecting, using, or disclosing children's personal information (subject to certain limited exceptions).
To learn more about COPPA, consult the FTC's COPPA FAQs page. At the date of publication of this documentation, COPPA is being reviewed by the FTC to determine if the rule should be updated to reflect changes in the industry.
What are the requirements of GDPR-K?
The GDPR is an EU and UK regulation on data protection and privacy. It is administered by the UK's/each EU member state's data protection authority. GDPR-K refers to the special protections within the GDPR for children's data. Under GDPR-K, when online operators are relying on consent as the basis for processing a child's data, they must obtain this consent from a parent and make reasonable efforts to verify the identity of that parent (subject to certain limited exceptions). The GDPR sets the age of digital consent at 16, but individual member states may lower this as far as 13. The UK has lowered the age of consent to 13.
To learn more about GDPR-K as it applies in the UK, consult the ICO's website.