I Saw Mommy Emailing Santa Claus

12/8/2011

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Ol' St. Nick has gone digital and is now accepting letters and wish lists from children through websites and emails. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon, South Carolina, and Western Washington reminds parents that while keeping the holiday magic alive is important, keeping children and their information safe is imperative.

With more than 60 domain names registered in the name of Santa Claus and more than 14,000 Google results for "Santa's email address," parents should be diligent in safeguarding their children's personal information. According to the Children's Advertising Review Unit (CARU), websites directed towards children must have easily accessible privacy policies that clearly outline how and where information will be used and if that information will be shared with third parties. Policies should also include full company names and complete contact information.

BBB gifts the following information to help identify legitimate Santa sites:

Ho-ho-hold onto personal information. Only provide information that is necessary for a response. Email or physical addresses may be required. Be wary when websites ask for additional information that seems unimportant to the letter submitting process.

Check their list - twice. Read privacy policies carefully to see how information will be used. Explain to children the dangers of giving out personal information online.

Don't accept "The North Pole." Choose sites that give specific contact information; skip those that give general contact details like "Santa Claus" at "The North Pole." Full business names, phone numbers and physical addresses should be easy to locate.

More information about children's online safety can be found in the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act and at the Children's Advertising Review Unit. Visit upstatesc.bbb.org for other holiday tips.

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