Yes, it seems Dusty was banned for being underage. Yes, Dusty was a nice person as well and her devotion to Kongregate was undeniable (and commendable!)….however, the terms and conditions state that a person must be 13 or older to register and use the features of this site. Here is a direct quote:
Children under the age of 13 are not permitted to register for an Account or use other interactive features of our Site.
Dusty broke that rule when she joined, and broke it everyday when she used the sites features. I (and others I’m sure) have spoken to her about this, so she was well aware beforehand of the fact that she may lose her account at some point. The 13 and up rule is in agreement with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). I am not completely familiar with the details of complying with COPPA, but I believe you need parental consent for some sites (the ones that choose to allow at all) and many sites choose to not allow it for safety.
I also believe that if you are aware that one of your users is under 13 and you continue to allow them to use your site, you can possibly get in trouble. XANGA got sued recently for $1 million for violating COPPA, and I dont know about you…but I dont want to see Kongregate get in any trouble for anything like that, regardless of how nice Dusty was.
You must understand it gets very serious in some cases. For instance if she came her and gave out any of her info, then some adult who was also on the site saw that contacted her (and possibly did something)…well, Kongregate would be held responsible to an extent and could feel the force of the law. Unfortunately, the world is a sad place and you cant afford to be negligent. Many of you want her info to contact her for the right reasons (and you are good friends for that), but there are plenty of people around who want that info for the wrong reasons. Sadly, bad things happen often with the internet, which is why precautions are taken.
Whether or not COPPA has anything to do with the reasons for banning her account or whether it has to do with maturity, I dont know, since I havent talked to Jim about it. Jim is a very kind person and I know he wouldnt do it just on a whim and without good reason.
For precautionary measures and the sake of peace, I am locking this thread (sorry!). If Jim or Emily want to comment on the details/reasons or unlock this thread then they will do so. Otherwise all I can say is I’m sorry about Dusty to all of you who were her friends, and I hope you can reunite with her in time. Unfortunately I’m pretty sure its illegal for anyone to give out any of her contact info on the internet (for her protection, you must understand) so we cant pass along anything to help.
Sorry guys :(