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Nickelodeon awarded child privacy seal

Nickelodeon Online, a Web site for preteens, tomorrow will announce that it has been selected as the first site to receive the Better Business Bureau's Kids' Privacy Seal.

Nickelodeon Online, a Web site for preteens, tomorrow will announce that it has been selected as the first site to receive the Better Business Bureau's Kids' Privacy Seal.

With the BBBOnline privacy seal, Nickelodeon's Web site is certified as having met all the requirements of the organization's privacy program, as well as a collection of requirements from the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 and the Online Privacy Alliance, along with other organizations.

The company's selection comes at a time when there is growing concern about protecting the privacy of children who surf the Net and may unwittingly give out personal information to Web sites. Just last week, the Federal Trade Commission, trying to fulfill its mandate under the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998, entered the fray hoping to restrict Web sites from soliciting information from children.

"We have been working with [BBBOnline] to comply with their standards," said Kris Bagwell, senior vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon Online, adding that the changes the site needed to implement were minor because high privacy standards already were in place. "The privacy seal is a great sign for parents, guardians, and kids to know that we protect children's personal information," added Bagwell.

BBBOnline's requirements include obtaining parental consent before any personally identifiable information can be collected, used, or disclosed; getting parental consent before children are allowed to post or communicate directly with each other; and avoiding collecting more information than necessary when offering kids activities and games. Sites displaying the BBBOnline privacy seal also must give parents access to the information that has been collected about the children and offer the opportunity to correct or remove the data.

Bagwell added that Nickelodeon Online also has a notice that pops up when children click on an advertisement that warns children they are leaving Nick.com and entering the wider Web.

About two dozen companies have sponsored the BBBOnline privacy program, including America Online, IBM, Intel, and Nickelodeon.