Children on Social Media: A Comparison of COPPA [Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule] and the Revised AVMSD [Audiovisual Media Services Directive]

Research output: Working paper / PreprintWorking paper


For over a decade, PewDiePie has been YouTube’s biggest content creator, with a total of 104 million subscribers, many of whom are children. His army of fans – the 9 year- old army – has been the subject of many memes and online commentary. While the creator might have discussed his demographics publicly, he is one of the few YouTubers to do that. In comparison, fellow creators Tana Mongeau and Jake Paul, also known for their popularity among children and teens, do not reveal any statistics to which they may have access to on the platforms they are active.

As a category of highly vulnerable users, children are directly affected by such harms, as they are said to have difficulties recognizing manipulating techniques which may affect their immediate interests. To protect these interests, both EU and US legislators have responded with (mandatory) statutory rules aimed, on the one hand, at platforms (the US model), but also to commercial actors using the platforms for their business models (the EU model). This research project sets out to investigate the similarities and differences between the two regulatory approaches, and critically reflect on their strengths and weaknesses in offering vulnerable groups an effective recourse to protective regimes. It does so on the basis of the following structure. First, it categorizes the issues which may arise with the activity of children online. Second, it looks at two regulatory approaches in the US and the EU, namely the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (COPPA), and the updated Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), which are relevant for some of the legal issues surrounding the online activity of children. Lastly, the paper explores the shortcomings of these two legal frameworks and makes policy recommendations for their improvement.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherStanford Law School
Number of pages18
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020

Publication series

SeriesTTLF Working Papers

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