ForumsSupport ForumFAQ: Why we ban under-age users

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cormyn
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cormyn
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Hi everyone,

Well, I went on another ban-spree, handing out perma-bans to several users for being underage. I've done an awful lot of these over the past 6 months, and I wanted to write up a quick note about it here to explain why we have to ban under-age users.

The United States has a federal law that we must follow as an Internet business, that states we are not allowed to store any information about users under the age of 13 without parental consent.

Due to the sheer number of users we have on the site, trying to get parental consent from so many users would be an overwhelming task, so we opted for the easier route of saying that users under the age of 13 are not permitted to register an account on the site.

And because we don't want to dabble in international law either, we apply this rule to users from ALL countries, not just the United States.

If we find that you are underage, we are FORCED, by law, to disable your account right away. We can only re-enable your account if you send us valid proof of your birthdate with a note and signature from a parent or guardian.

If you want to use the Contact page to find out how you can send us this information, Justin can forward some information.

So here's the deal: if you admit to being underage, we can 'pause' your account until you turn 13. It will look and feel like a perma-ban because it uses the same controls, and your friends on the site will not have access to your profile any longer. However, once you send us proof of your 13th birthday, we can re-enable (un-ban) your account, and you can pick up where you left off.

However, if we disable your account, and you create an additional account to circumvent the ban, we will mark your old account to never be re-enabled/un-banned.

If your account has been shut off, and you have a question about why, you can contact us through the Contact page. Justin or I will get back to you as soon as we can to explain why.

Users are welcome to submit comments here about it, but our decision on restricting the minimum age to 13 will not change.

  • 68 Replies
Patrick2011
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Patrick2011
12,341 posts
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To me, the creation of this thread makes sense because there have been threads recently asking why users are getting banned.

koolkylekool
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koolkylekool
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To me, the creation of this thread makes sense because there have been threads recently asking why users are getting banned.


This.

'Nuff said, little kids shouldn't be on here anyways
thaboss
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thaboss
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cool! how would someone send proof of their age? a birth certificate scan or something?

EnterOrion
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EnterOrion
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Just curious, but what about users who had admitted to being under 13 at some point previously, were not banned, lived healthy lives yada yada yada.

Any repercussions for violating international law?

gaboloth
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gaboloth
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Uh, why you can't trust people if they assure they have parental consent, but you instantly believed me when I said I'm over 13 while registering?

darkrai097
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darkrai097
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I have a question; what if you found out someone had joined at an age of, say, 10, after they had turned 13, as in Pazx's case? Since Pazx quite obviously hasn't been perma-banned, what happens?

xeano321
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xeano321
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how would someone send proof of their age? a birth certificate scan or something?
Thats what i was thinking, someone could lie about their age a month after they get banned.

That is some forums users don't like under-age users: because of bad interpunction, forgetting capitals and bad/awkward construction of sentences.

Kids are not the only ones who don't use proper punctuation. A lot of teenagers don't have grammar skills either... That is not a very good reason as why kids get banned.

It is a great rule (and law). It helps prevent kids from getting exposed to something that they shouldn't see or something that could be harmful to them. Great rule!
thaboss
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thaboss
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That is some forums users don't like under-age users: because of bad interpunction, forgetting capitals and bad/awkward construction of sentences.


Yeah. It can be really annoying when you have no idea what they're trying to say. BUT Most people do stuff like that, I think, to save time. I mean, it's an online gaming forum. There's not much need to do stuff like capitalize "I's."
chitown
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chitown
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There is some people who are obviously underage who spell things wrong and don't put spaces in between sentences and it is just annoying. I am glad that they are being banned.

Erico27
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Erico27
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I agree. My mom used to yell at me for playing games with blood when I was 10, so I am glad everyone under 13 will get the same treatment

YepYepYep
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YepYepYep
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"Play free online games at Armor Games!

We strive to deliver the best online games experience on the internet, with thousands of free online games for kids, access to free mmorpg games, free online games for girls, online rpg games, fun online flash games, and more."

Why does it say free online games for kids and free online games for girls? Just the words kids and girls make me think of under 13 year olds. Maybe instead of kids it should say teens.

It should also sound inclusive for adults too, since I find this website to be very fun and I am over 40.

JohnGarell
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JohnGarell
1,827 posts
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Why does it say free online games for kids and free online games for girls? Just the words kids and girls make me think of under 13 year olds.


Well; indeed. But they doesn't say something about to get accounts.
master565
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master565
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Why does it say free online games for kids and free online games for girls? Just the words kids and girls make me think of under 13 year olds. Maybe instead of kids it should say teens.


They don't care about the age of users playing on their site, they're fine with underage users. They just can't legally store information about the children. They can be on this site and play games without an account.
cormyn
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cormyn
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how would someone send proof of their age?


Well, we don't want a ton of personal, private data, but we would need to see something with a birthdate on it. If you've had your account shut off for being under age, you'll need to talk to your folks about it anyway, they can contact us to discuss what would be suitable.


but you instantly believed me when I said I'm over 13 while registering?


The registration process is a first defense. So if something happens and the Feds show up, we can say "look, they told us they were over 13..."

But if we find out through other means that you're underage, we HAVE to shut of your account.

what if you found out someone had joined at an age of, say, 10, after they had turned 13


Well, obviously since you're 13 *now* you can stay. Users under the age of 13 *now* have to have their accounts shut off. It's the law. It doesn't mean we agree with the law, but we still have to follow it...

some people who are obviously underage who spell things wrong and don't put spaces in between sentences and it is just annoying


Wow, I have an aunt who's nearing 50 years of age that writes worse than any underage user I've seen on the site. Poor writing skills have nothing to do with proving age.

My mom used to yell at me for playing games with blood when I was 10


That's part of it too, when Dan and Justin screen games, they have to make sure that it's going to be age-appropriate for our users. We obviously want to keep as many people interested as possible, but we don't want to be showing blood, guts and gore to underage kids.

thousands of free online games for kids


Agreed, but technically, anyone under 18 is still legally considered a "child". We also presume that parents are responsible enough to pay attention to what their kids are doing on the Internet, and will make sure their kid can play puzzle games but not the shooting/action games which might have blood in it.

We've also discussed a 'rating' system for our games, without having to submit EVERY game we have to the ESRB, where we can voluntarily tag things as "blood" or "animated blood" or "zombies", etc., so parents could maybe restrict which kinds of games are available.

They just can't legally store information about the children. They can be on this site and play games without an account.


Yes, exactly! Thanks for summing that up so nicely. I should have mentioned in my opening post that underage users are welcome to play games at our site anonymously.
GhostOfMatrix
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GhostOfMatrix
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So what does this mean? Are you gonna line up every suspect to see who's underage or something?

If you read the OP, then you'll know what it means. If they find any underaged users, then their account(s) will be disabled. I'd say that this thread is to just remind users why underaged users are banned since people seem to not understand why.
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