Lidija Kralj & Nika Bender – Customer manager Croatia, Stardoll
Children’s safety on the Internet is common care for all of us. That topic lead me to the interview with international Stardoll team in which I found out interesting ways of handling interactive page for playing with great respect for children’s privacy and safety.
What is Stardoll, and who is your target audience?
Stardoll is the largest online community for girls who love fashion, shopping, decorating, creativity, and making new friends from around the world. Once they register an account on Stardoll, members create their own “avatar” – virtual doll, and can go shopping, play dress up, decorate their suite, express themselves creatively and socialize with other members. Stardoll is for everyone, but most of our users are between 7 and 17 years old.
I assume your users are mostly little girls, and they are the most sensitive group in the virtual environment. What do you do to protect them?
We want Stardoll to be a safe and secure site and we are doing everything we can do to reach that goal. We have filters to remove bad words; we have both automated as well as human moderators that go through the community parts of our site every day. In all community parts of the page we have very visible and easy to use reporting tools that allow users to report any bad content they come across to our Stardoll moderators. We also require all users under 13 to get parental consent to sign up as members to the site, so as to ensure that parents are aware of their child’s activities. Even then they have a special kind of membership which is called Kidsafe. As the Kidsafe members, they can’t write any content on their own and can’t access other users’ own written content. They also cannot communicate with other members using our message centre or any other forum.
We strongly encourage all parents to participate in their child’s Internet usage and make sure that they are aware of what their child is doing online. We also regularly inform all our members not to give out their personal details such as full name, real address, email or phone number during communication with other users.
Stardoll AB is a participant in the PRIVO Privacy Assurance Program. As part of the Privacy Assurance Program, Stardoll adheres to strict information collection, use and disclosure requirements. PRIVO is an independent third party organization committed to safeguarding children’s personal information collected online, and to helping parents and their children exercise control over personal information while exploring the Internet. The seal displayed on this page indicates that Stardoll has established privacy practices and has agreed to submit to PRIVO’s oversight and consumer dispute resolution process. PRIVO enables companies to create lifetime customer relationships through branded permission–management systems consistent with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which is a United States federal law.
What advice do you give to parents about ensuring their children’s privacy on your page?
As is the case in the real world, parents need to teach their child how to avoid risks and how to handle different situations. We would like to encourage parents to set up their own rules together with their child on how best use the computer and the Internet. By taking responsibility for their children’s online computer use, parents can greatly minimize any potential risks of being online. Our experience is that many of our young users are very aware of the ethics on the Internet and react when someone breaks the rules.
We have a special section for parents and teachers on Stardoll for instructions and answers on different questions about children’s safety and security on Stardoll – Stardoll’s Online Security Guide for Parents & Teachers
Do you think that the safety of kids online should be the obligation of companies that create content for children?
Our stand on this matter is that children’s online security is a responsibility for companies like ours. Parents, schools and communities should also participate in keeping the children safe on the Internet. Only when all the parties are involved, safety of the kids online can be ensured. Majority of our users are children and we believe it is our responsibility to help ensure their safety on Stardoll. We continuously strive to adhere to all EU laws and regulations regarding children’s online safety and we believe that we have achieved and maintained particularly high standards.
What kind of corporate social responsibility (CSR) should there be in the area of children’s security on Internet?
We regularly run campaigns, competitions/quizzes where the topic is security and safety on Stardoll. We are always trying to make content in our very unique “Stardoll style” with fun as the main emphasis so it is easily embraced by the users. On the page, we have the ever-active “Safety Quiz” where members have to answer questions correctly in order to get a diploma in their Stardoll suit. Along with that, there is also a “To report or not to report” quiz about the usage of our reporting system, which is designed to help them use it more efficiently. With that said, every year we support global campaigns like “Safer Internet Day” and “Anti-bullying week”.
Who manages that in your company?
We have people from different departments in the company that work tirelessly to ensure the safety of our users is achieved. Our teams use their expertise in identifying and resolving issues in need of quick attention. All campaigns, together with socially responsible campaigns, target members worldwide – but they are also translated into various local languages for local accessibility.
We thank Stardoll team for willingness for this interview.