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Rajah Lehal

Legal Tips and Tricks: The Minimum Age for Your Web/Mobile App Subscribers

July 15, 2013

Links from this article: here

Are the subscribers/customers of your web or mobile application under the age of majority? This is potentially problematic for several reasons:

Companies with subscribers who are under the age of 13 will face additional scrutiny on the nature of advertising that they are exposed to.

You will note that Facebook requires that its subscribers are at minimum, 13 years of age. Facebook admits that many users will lie about their age. According to a Huffington Post article, Facebook deletes 20,000 underage users perday, and encourages self-reporting (or parent reporting) to assist them to find the underage users. When registering on Facebook, subscribers are required to provide their date of birth, and Facebook offers the following disclaimer:

“Providing your birthday helps make sure you get the right Facebook experience for your age. You can choose to hide this info from your timeline later if you want.”

Contracts entered into with minors are not generally enforceable without a parent or legal guardian co-signing.Even with a co-signing parent or guardian, there are certain rights that cannot be assigned by your legal guardian (e.g. limitation of liability). When developing your terms of use to include an underage counterparty, to increase the likelihood of enforceability, here are some suggested terms:

  1. Require that the parent or legal guardian agree to be bound by the terms of use.
  2. Require that the parent or legal guardian provide their registration information.
  3. If payment is required, ensure that the credit card provided is that of a primary cardholder who is the age of majority, and is the parent or legal guardian.
  4. Terms that impose liability on the registrants should include both the parent or legal guardian and the subscriber, jointly, and in aggregate.
  5. Many electronic terms of use do not allow for a signature; you can require that a scanned copy of the contract be sent back after registration and also require that the parent or legal guardian provide their signature.

For additional reading: see my recently posted commentary on this topic here.

Terms of Use
Long Form
Under-Age Customers
Commercial Activities

Written by Rajah. Rajah Lehal is Founder and CEO of Clausehound.com. Rajah is a legal technologist and technology lawyer who is, together with the Clausehound team, capturing and sharing lawyer expertise, building deal negotiation libraries, teaching negotiation in classrooms, and automating negotiation with software.