Geni and Coppa rules?

Started by Private User on Monday, May 16, 2011


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Private User
5/16/2011 at 6:02 AM

The COPPA - Children's Online Privacy Protection Act rules ( is preventing Geni from accepting Geni members below the age of 13.

Most of us got interested in genealogy before we was 13, and currently Geni is not a site they can use.

In this forum post for over three years ago Noah Tutak said: "We hope to implement a solution in the future that would still allow these users to access their Geni account without the ability to supply information".

Since this definitely is related to this project: What is the status?


5/16/2011 at 11:47 AM

Private User
This is more for the adult users as suggestions for creating an interest and how to implement strategies to create ways to introduce, familiarize our children and teens to family heritage. It is challenging, but this is a begin at home process for parents and grand parents. I suppose if those values spark an interest in a child over 13 of age, then the parent can advise the use of geni with supervision.

5/18/2011 at 4:15 PM

Children should still be able to access the information on Geni without having their own profile and 'being members' if only through educational institutions.

This is a great idea for aproject. I don't think we can force family history on our children but if we are interested and tell stories about ancestors so that they have this information imbedded in their memories when they get older, have children or lose us, their parents they will then probably start to think more about family history. If an interest is going to be sparked I think the best way (as demonstrated by Kwame and my own experience) is to take your children somewhere significant connected with family history and if you can 'discover' or uncover a mystery with them they may well get hooked.

5/18/2011 at 5:22 PM

I'm here because of my grandmother (my Baba) who told me the family stories and connected me emotionally with her ancestors. I'm not sure why it took with me and not so much with my younger sisters. My Aunt Janet and my Baba loved their family and their cousins who lived all over the U.S. and in Israel and France when I was little. Family meant a lot to them and family memories and relationships were precious and discussed.

Similarly in my mother's family they talked about all the ancestors so the names Williams, Johnson, Underwood, Wilbur, Stowe, Gallup, Baldwin were talked about. We were named after ancestors. My mother was named after ancestors.

It seems to me that stories and having a deep connection with one's family and ancestors and demonstrating that to your children is the beginning.

Private User
5/18/2011 at 7:37 PM

I agree with Hatte. I taught first grade for 30 years. One of the best ways of drawing children in and getting them interested in most topics is through good stories.
As a child I loved hearing about things that happened before I was born, or too young to remember. My dad would tell me about his grandfather, who died before my dad was born. He was a bee keeper, and had a long, red beard. The bees would gather on his beard, and Great Grandfather would gently scrape them away with his bare hands. What child wouldn't remember that?
Every family has interesting trivia, stories, or unique ancestors that can be fascinating to children.

Private User
5/18/2011 at 8:54 PM

This sort of thing happened to me lately. I was visiting my granddaughter....who lives 500 miles away....who is 5 1/2. My daughter-in-law & I were each telling her stories about when we were children. She listened for a while then said can we stop talking about history. I laughed....but her mother told her it is important to about your family & the stories. At this age she doesn't appreciate that....but in the future she will remember some of these stories & pass them on to her family.

5/18/2011 at 9:19 PM

This shall be something like this:
A) Child's profile shall exist in Geni (entered by somebody) and shall always have correct date of birth.
B) Only his/her immediate family member can send invitation to future "Child Account" user.
C) The e-mail address used for such purposes shall be hidden from all users (incl. immediate family) until the person will be 13 y.o.
D) If child logs first time in then he/she shall confirm (special prompt) that he/she accepts "read-only" account until his/her 13th birthday.
E) His/her account will be "read-only" (with printing rights also) so child can only view all and change/add nothing.
F) Child shall be able to send messages and free gifts to his/her Family Group only.
G) There shall be no PRO possibility for such child.
H) Only Immediate Family can follow his/her and he/she can follow immediate family only.
I) no collaboration possible, no posting to discussions or walls
J) on his/her 13th birthday his/her Child Account will be converted automatically to "normal" Geni account (Basic user, with possibility to buy PRO)

5/18/2011 at 9:24 PM

I think that is a great suggestion, but also, if a child with a family member - does start a tree - these trees should be privatized for the child and family members protection. Possibly a childrens geni section - a tutorial - with a beginner tree application?

Private User
5/18/2011 at 10:35 PM

Oh, geez, you guys, can we first get tutorials for US? /lol

Okay, sorry, it's just that learning to use Geni has been such an uphill battle for me and I *really* wish there were tutorials... ;)

As for getting kids interested in genealogy, I'm sure that if it's presented as history it would be a big turnoff. My grandmother and mother told my sister and me family stories going back generations, and we hung on every word because they personalized the stories. It wasn't "Charles Robertson Forbes", it was "Grandpa Charles", for instance. And they focused on the exciting details, the things that would catch a child's attention... the story about the rattlesnake bite, or how one grandmother wallpapered an entire room with newspapers the day before she gave birth.... we felt like we *knew * these people, and they mattered to us.

On the other hand, when she tried to interest us in filling out family group sheets, forget about it!

I've tried to do the same thing with my son, now six. He knows all his "grandmas and grandpas" for three or so generations back - and he knows the details of their lives. I've hung photos of them all through the house and put minis on the Christmas tree, and we talk about them as though they are here with us now. He's aware that I work on the family tree on the computer but has no interest in that side of things yet, and I would be shocked if he did! I do have hope for the future, though...

I'm no expert and can't say if this would work for every child, but it's what worked with my family.

Private User
5/18/2011 at 11:09 PM

Lauri, - about G) - No PRO.
They should definitely have to option to find out how they are related to others, especially famous people. That would probably be the most fun part for them..

In my option finding relationships should be moved to be a none-Pro feature.

5/19/2011 at 12:09 AM

Definately agree there Bjorn. THere's a pupil at work always mentioning that he's descended from Anne Bolyn and other historic characters.

5/19/2011 at 2:53 AM

Private User
Isn't the relationship finding with MP's available for non-PRO's?

PRO can just find or try to find unlimited length relationship path to any profile in Geni ...

5/19/2011 at 3:00 AM

P.S. Instead of marking them as fake we shall then mark
Winnie the Pooh, Burt Simpson, Harry Potter and others as Master Profiles...

5/19/2011 at 9:14 AM

I think we should always keep it real - no cartoon characters, that defeats the purpose. Perhaps initiating a separate up to 5 -6 genearitons tree for youngster to start - and an application search tool that can assist that finds famous relative or celebrities - kind of what we have now for us - but more of a application that searches for famous relative once they get to 6th generation, possibly - that would encourage follow through and accuracy on the part of the child, but reward the child when they get to a generation that may connect and search for a historic figure to make it fun. Also - adult members here can start discussions or how they have been successful in implementing and encouraging children into genealogy - or frustrations - threads like "Plan a family vacation to ancestor's birth place" or "Make great grandmothers favorite recipe" or "Make a toys that gg-grandpa would have played with in Spain", etc... so it's not all boring history.

Private User
5/19/2011 at 9:30 AM

Jacqueli - it is a fine balance. We do have the biblical and mythical lines which most "serious" genealogists would argument hard to get removed.

We actually have a Harry James Potter, {FICT} tree and even a project on that:

The background for that tree was that it was an endless fight on deleting new Harry Potter trees, so it was better to just starting maintaining one semi-official and ensure that it stays unconnected.

I would even accept a just-for-fun Donald Duck tree as long as he does not show up as a relative ;-)

5/19/2011 at 10:10 AM

Private User LOL - you never know - we have been known to have a few "quacks" here and there !!!!!

5/19/2011 at 3:17 PM

I have always been against these fictional characters having profiles however talking about them in the context of encouraging children we could actually use them as eduational 'toys' so that children (or adults) wanting to experiment and see how Geni works could do so using these trees without worrying too much about doing harm or creating duplicates etc. Instead of just having videos and messages trying to explain how to use Geni point them to these pretend trees and suggest they try things out there first.

5/19/2011 at 3:45 PM

That is a VERY COOL idea Terry!

Private User
5/20/2011 at 12:39 AM

We should still follow the one profile per person rule, so please don't add more Harry Potter trees...

5/20/2011 at 8:43 AM

No way would I add more Harry Potter Trees Bjorn, but allowing such trees to remain isolated and directing new people to them to practise Geni-using skills on them instead of ruining the Historic tree seemed like killing 2 birds with one stone.

5/20/2011 at 9:15 AM

Like making a separate children or practice "learn how" section.

5/20/2011 at 4:18 PM


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