If you want to play, you have to agree to my terms.

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In response to Susan's first and second discussion questions and to Grimes' article, I think that there is no way a child is going to understand or possibly even look closely at a TOS agreement. As far as the MyUville example, the length is what I first notice. Most kids are chomping at the bit to get their hands on the game, and my guess is that they won't have the patience in the first place to read through the entire agreement. I myself don't usually have the patience to read through these extensive agreements! I think the language that Susan mentioned is also a key part of this discussion. It may seem as though the agreement is written in pretty simple English, but when looked at closely, there are a lot of terms that the typical gamer and especially a young child would not understand. So, even if the agreement is read in its entirety (which I never do) it still is not fully understood. Words like "trademark infringement," "framing," and "inline linking" are found in the MyUville contract, and most children (even if they have heard the words before) do not understand what these terms mean in the context of a TOS agreement.

The one other thing that I also noticed in the MyUville agreement was the use of bolded print to emphasize certain important sections of the agreement. I think that was a good move by that particular company because they are recognizing the fact that most users of their product or going to only skim this agreement. It points out what the company wants users to definitely read through and then users don't feel like they have to read through the entire agreement.

So, why even create these TOS agreements if no one is going to read them? I guess the companies are trying to cover themselves as much as possible, but I don't know if these agreements even hold up in court. Does anyone know?

EL 250

5 Comments

Jeremy Barrick said:

They print the TOS agreements to save themselves from any lawsuits and miscommunication errors.

BethAnneSwartzwelder Author Profile Page said:

Yes Jeremy, but do they still hold up in court if people don't read through them?

Susan Carmichael said:

I do not think that TOS contract have been challenged enough to say one way or another; however, it seems like the issue will come into the forefront soon. I did not notice the bold print in the MyUville contract the first time around, so thank you for calling attention to it. It might be misleading to use bold print though, since the context of the sentence may be still convoluted.

Jessie Krehlik said:

The word choice in TOS documents is what really gets me the most. It's almost as if they word them to discourage the public from actually reading them. Neopets' TOS has a "kid friendly" version, but also included the extended version (I think it's a waste of time to include both though). I really wouldn't be surprised if these companies really were trying to take advantage of those who are too lazy to read the whole TOS and Private Privacy.

Susan Carmichael said:

Jessie, I agree that Neopets should not include both forms of the TOS. If they cannot convey all of their terms in the kid-friendly version then what is the point of even offering another version. Children are hardly going to read one let alone two TOS contracts.

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