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This question already has an answer here:

I am a young person and I want to know what is the minimum age for Stack Overflow users, because if I type in my true age I don't want to be deleted or blocked from Stack Overflow due to my age.

marked as duplicate by ale, Pops Sep 5 '13 at 17:41

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

  • Okay, this isn't a literal duplicate, but the older question solidly provides the answer to this one and gets to the real issue. – Pops Sep 5 '13 at 17:42
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You must be 13 to participate on the Stack Exchange network.

This is outlined in the Terms of Service, under the section titled "Access to the Service," which says:

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).

The age 13 requirement comes from the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA), a United States federal law that details what a website operator must include in a privacy policy, when and how to seek verifiable consent from a parent or guardian, and what responsibilities an operator has to protect children's privacy and safety online including restrictions on the marketing to those under 13.

While children under 13 can legally give out personal information with their parents' permission, many websites just disallow underage children from using their services due to the amount of work involved.

See Also
Children's Online Privacy Protection Act

  • You can participate under the age of 13 so long as you don't provide your own person information. – Servy Sep 5 '13 at 17:13
  • @Servy Which means as an anonymous user, which isn't any fun. – Undo Sep 5 '13 at 17:13
  • @Undo, Not exclusively. It has been explicitly stated that if your parent creates an account for you, with their email, you can use that account, regardless of your age, as per my answer. – Servy Sep 5 '13 at 17:14
  • @Servy Ahh - weird laws are getting weirder. – Undo Sep 5 '13 at 17:15
  • See this related post for why this answer is incorrect. – Servy Sep 5 '13 at 17:17
  • If you guys think every user here has provided true information, you need to look at more profiles. I'm sure a fair percentage are anonymous in some way; either providing false names, locations or ages. – Johnny Bones Sep 5 '13 at 17:19
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You are not allowed to provide your own personal information if you are under the age of 13 (most notably your email, which is needed to create an account). If your parent/guardian uses their personal information to set up an account for you, regardless of your age, then you can use the site.

See this related answer for more information

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    Not sure about the downvote... – Undo Sep 5 '13 at 17:12
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    In all fairness to Adam Davis and his eloquent answer on the other question, he's not a representative of Stack Exchange, and can't really speak for them. The Terms of Service don't say "get your parent's permission," they say "you must be 13." – Robert Harvey Sep 5 '13 at 17:21
  • @RobertHarvey [...] to create an account or provide personal information. Which means, so long as you don't do either of those things then you are not in violation of the ToS. He is merely indicating that if you follow the instructions he provided you are in compliance with the ToS and US laws. If the ToS is changed to be stricter, then your answer may become correct. – Servy Sep 5 '13 at 17:24
  • Under that interpretation, entire dorms could share a single account, which is almost certainly not the desired outcome, since the TOS clearly states that you must be an individual. The TOS clearly defines the term "Subscriber" as the person accessing the services. – Robert Harvey Sep 5 '13 at 17:25
  • It's quite fun watching programmers talk law, actually :D – Undo Sep 5 '13 at 17:33
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    @Undo: Really, you just have to know how to read. – Robert Harvey Sep 5 '13 at 17:36
  • @RobertHarvey Yes, but it is possible for the Subscriber (the one who accesses the services, not necessarily the person who provides personal information and registers the account) to be a single individual under 13 years of age. This clause: "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)" is not violated by the sole user (and not creator) of the account being under 13. I may be entirely wrong, of course, since I have little understanding of legalese. – Asad Saeeduddin Sep 5 '13 at 17:36
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    @Asad: that sentence is not violated if you don't provide any personal information. The previous sentence where you must certify that you are at least 13 is violated instead. – Wooble Sep 5 '13 at 17:39
  • @Wooble Yes, that's true. – Asad Saeeduddin Sep 5 '13 at 17:42
  • @Servy I found a hole in the argument about parents providing info in place of their child's: "Subject to the terms and conditions of this Agreement, Stack Exchange may offer to provide the Services, as described more fully on the Network, and which are selected by Subscriber, solely for Subscriber’s own use, and not for the use or benefit of any third party." – apaul Sep 5 '13 at 17:54

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