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Correct me if I'm wrong, but the under 13 law (in US and some other places, or "policy" rather than law for Google internationally) is only without a guardian's permission, so if a letter was written on behalf of him, they would reactivate it?

Well, certainly that's the case with the law - as to Google policy, that's where you should correct me if I'm wrong.

Edit, on a side note, if the author is the poster here (or reads HN either way): I really like your writing. The story itself normally wouldn't make me care a huge amount (a short version is "a ten year old can't use a 13 and over service"), but I actually found myself really empathising and feeling upset on his behalf.

> so if a letter was written on behalf of him, they would reactivate it?

Question is: written to whom? What is the channel for that?

There seems to be none. No way to explain and no recourse. And that's why we can't have nice things.

You can have free email because Google doesn't have to pay people to manually process and evaluate these kinds of requests. Ignorant, self-serving politicians and their sheepish, easily manipulated constituents are the reason we can't have nice things.

Last I remember, they required the parent's permission in the form of a fax or some other annoying format, so many sites just didn't bother accepting permission and banned under-13 users.

This was 4-5 years ago, though. I pretty much got used to lying about my age everywhere (every PHPBB forum had the same age-confirmation form before the registration process, for example), and I guess this kid probably will too. It'll be annoying for him when he actually does turn 13 and has to figure out how to change his DOB on sites (a lot of which don't let you).

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