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United States/New York State here, but I'm interested in any answers, even generic ones that are jurisdiction-agnostic.


I am a software developer writing a hobby app (both Android and iOS) for a recreational (but competitive!) sport that is played all over the world. This app will allow users to create accounts, setup profiles, compete against each other in the real world and report their results, and most importantly: for the first time ever will aggregate scores/results and provide a unified world ranking system for this hobby/sport. Hence players will be able to login and see where they stand in the world rankings, which is going to be a very exciting feature.

In the real world, tournaments for this sport have several divisions, typically arranged by skill level and/or age. For instance a typical tournament might have the following divisions:

  • Men, Amateurs (any men who are not considered "professionals")
  • Women, Amateurs (ditto)
  • Men, Pro (professionals)
  • Women, Pro
  • Men, Masters/Senior (amateurs above, say, 45 years of age)
  • Women, Masters/Senior
  • Kids/Youth Ages 7 - 10
  • Kids/Youth Ages 10 - 14
  • Boys Ages 14 - 18
  • Girls Ages 14 - 18

This is the typical tournament setup, but it varies.

I want to allow minors (in US this is defined as younger than 18 but I'm sure it varies country to country) to use my app the same way as an adult would, but I'm concerned about the following:

  • Can minors under a certain age even download & use apps?
  • Is it legal to collect data & metrics about minors (height, weight, age, as well as tournament results, etc.)?
  • In order to use many features of the app, you have to allow the app to report your GPS location...can we collect minor's GPS data?

I'm hoping that the universal answer here is: All of the above is generally legal in every country, so long as the minor has their guardian's consent to use the app and all of its features. Because in that case, I can figure out a way to make sure we obtain and document guardian consent ahead of time.

Otherwise, if the answer here is tricky/murky, how do other apps like Facebook, Twitter or even video game makers tackle this issue?

  • You might like to look at this answer to a related question about COPPR, the relevant regulations in the US, as a starting point. – sjy Nov 30 '17 at 8:15
  • Google handles it by not letting anyone under 13 have an account. – Dale M Nov 30 '17 at 20:59
  • Short version: With parental consent, yes, most of the time. Long answer: It depends on so many things, and the various laws and rules involved are often confusing, so you'd really be better off getting a lawyer and asking them with all the specific technical details. It may come down to what types of data you collect. – Nic Hartley Dec 3 '18 at 23:29

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