It first defines "Services" as
Please read these terms of service (“Agreement”) carefully before using the Network or any services provided on the Network (collectively, “Services”).
At this point it seems like "services" includes anything you do on *.stackexchange.com. However, note that the ToS is something you accept when you create an account (I think), so "services" may exclude "reading stuff". Either way, exactly what is defined by "services" (lowercase) isn't really clarified here.
This gets clarified later:
Services shall include, but not be limited to, any services Stack Exchange performs for Subscriber, as well as the offering of any Content (as defined below) on the Network. Stack Exchange may change, suspend or discontinue the Services at any time, including the availability of any feature, database, or Content.
The definition of "Subscriber" is a tad circular, It seems to be first defined as "The Services are accessed by You (“Subscriber” or “You”) under the following terms and conditions", however "Services" includes "any services Stack Exchange performs for Subscriber". O.o
However, there's the COPPA clause:
Subscriber certifies to Stack Exchange that Subscriber is an individual (i.e., not a corporate entity) at least 13 years of age. No one under the age of 13 may provide any personal information to or on Stack Exchange (including, for example, a name, address, telephone number or email address). Subscriber also certifies that they are legally permitted to use the Services and access the Network, and takes full responsibility for the selection and use of the Services and access of the Network. This Agreement is void where prohibited by law, and the right to access the Network is revoked in such jurisdictions.
Wait ... what? Does this mean that children under 13 are not allowed to read this website? This doesn't make sense, and I don't see COPPA preventing 13 year olds from accessing this network.
The only PII that is stored for anon users is the IP address in the logs AFAICT. It's not liked to any other personal details, so this seems innocuous to me. Besides, to the best of my knowledge, this is covered by section 1303(b)(2)(E)(i) ("The regulations shall provide that verifiable parental consent under paragraph (1)(A)(ii) is not required in the case of ... the collection, use, or dissemination of such information by the operator of such a website or online service necessary ... to protect the security or integrity of its website;"). Logging is pretty necessary for the security of the site. If this was prohibited then children wouldn't be able to use almost any site on the Internet without permission (including Google for search), and I doubt that that is the case.
Besides, IP addresses are not explicitly listed under Section 1302(8) "The term "personal information" means individually identifiable information about an individual collected online, including ...", though subsection (F) ("any other identifier that the Commission determines permits the physical or online contacting of a specific individual; or") may include it, depending on what the Commission has decided.
So, is it legal for child younger than 13 years of age to read and use content1 on the SE network? If not, why?
1. Of course, given that the content policy is obeyed when using the information