Check Privacy Policy on "Dear Santa" Websites

December 13, 2013

A favorite holiday tradition for somechildren is writing a letter to Santa and sending it to the North Pole. Thereare many websites on the internet that have taken this tradition to the nextlevel, emailing Santa. While it seems innocent and fun, it is very importantfor adults to carefully review the site to determine who is seeking theinformation, how it will be used and whether it will be shared with thirdparties. Some of these sites may not be trustworthy and could potentially putpersonal information into the wrong hands.


According to the Children’s AdvertisingReview Unit (CARU), all websites directed to children – or websites designedwith a special children’s section – should have a privacy policy thatexplains the site’s information collection practices. The privacy policy shouldinclude the name of the company and the company’s complete contact information.It should also state whether the company shares information with third parties,including advertisers, and whether the company publically discloses theinformation or retains the information for any future purpose.


“Many consumers overlook a websites privacypolicy,” said Nancy B. Cahalen, President and CEO of the Better Business Bureauof Central New England. “It is important to take the time to read the policythoroughly to ensure your personal information is secure.”


CARU offers the following ‘Dear Santa’ sitereview tips:


Check to see whatthey want you to hand over. Websites directed to children should not ask a childto disclose more information than is reasonably necessary to participate in theactivity – a first name and email address, for instance.


Limit the personalinformation children share with Santa and omit physical addresses. In many cases,there really shouldn’t be a need to share this information. Especially sinceSanta already knows where all the children live.


Check websites forunwelcome content.Some sites are geared toward adults and may contain language or advertisingadults may not want children to see.


Check the links. Since hyperlinkscan allow children to move seamlessly from one site to another, investigate thehyperlinks to assure children don’t access inappropriate content.


For more information on website safety andchildren, please visit CARU at and for moreinformation you can trust, visit