How to Respond to an Underage User Illegally Using wikiHow

Two Methods:Registered UsersAnonymous Users

wikiHow attracts readers and editors around the world every day. However, to comply with COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Protection Act), it is a requirement that a user needs to be 13 or older in order to register an account with wikiHow. This article will explain how to deal and respond to situations with underage users.

Method 1
Registered Users

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    Take action only when a contributor specifically states their age as under 13. Don't assume or suspect that a person is under 13 just because they act a certain way, or say the grade they're in. Also, don't solicit someone's age--that is, don't ask someone how old they are because you think they might be under 13. Instead, post {{Age}} on their talk page. This reminds them to never state their age or share personal information in general.
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    Contact the Administrator Notice Board. Report underage editors in the section labeled "Users Under the Age of 13". Write Userlinks and then the user's username after it. For example, {{Userlinks|Username here|Under 13}}. Place a link to where they stated their age and place ~~~~ to sign your name.
    • An administrator will verify and take action of the situation.
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    Take action as an Admin.
    • Verify that the user is under 13. Again, don't solicit the contributor's age. Just make sure the contributor actually stated their age somewhere on the site and it is under 13.
    • Block their account for as long as it'll take for the contributor to turn 13. Twelve-year-olds are blocked for one year, eleven-year-olds for two years, etc. For the reason, select "Under 13" from the dropdown menu. Make sure all the boxes are unchecked.
    • Delete the underage person's user page if it contains his or her age or other personally identifying information.
    • Insert the {{under13}} template onto their talk page. This template explains the situation and provides information about how parents can give their child permission to use wikiHow. To give permission, parents are asked to do the following:
      • Complete the COPPA parental permission form
      • Mail, email, or fax) this form to wikiHow stating that they have reviewed the TOS (Terms of Service) and approve of the child participating on wikiHow.
      • Provide a telephone number for wikiHow to contact the a parent or guardian to verify the permission.

Method 2
Anonymous Users

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    If an anonymous user states their age as under 13, revert the edit/message and insert an {{age}} template on their talk page.
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    Do not block anonymous users. Most are passers-by, editors that forgot to log in or people that plan to create an account. IP addresses do not provide identifiable information. Blocking a single IP address may inadvertently block many good faith editors.


  • For a limited amount of time, blocking may be postponed until permission has been verified.
  • If an underage contributor tells you their age privately (such as in IRC or through e-mail) you should still report it.
  • For questions, contact Chris or Anna.


  • Assume good faith. We do not want to turn COPPA enforcement into a hunt for underage users. Please refrain from interrogating or asking others for their personal information. Since we don't want children to reveal personal information about themselves, we certainly ought not to ask them to do so.

Article Info

Categories: Help | WikiHow User's Manual | What You Can Do to Help | Patrolling