November 2013 Vol. 112 No. 2 THE REVIEW

Misplaced Misrepresentations: Why Misrepresentation-of-Age Statutes Must Be Reinterpreted as They Apply to Children's Online Contracts

Michelle A. Sargent

The information age revolutionized the relationship between individuals and the internet. Today, children are the targets of online advertisements that lure them into accepting terms of service, thus entering into online agreements. While children may feel comfortable navigating websites, they are psychologically predisposed to be unsophisticated and impulsive actors online. Children lack the digital literacy to understand the implications of accepting website terms of service.

Meanwhile, several states have misrepresentation-of-age statutes that prevent children from using the infancy doctrine to disaffirm online contracts because, in accepting the terms of service, children often represent that they are old enough to enter into the agreement. This Note argues that the heightened vulnerability of children online requires a reconsideration of the application of misrepresentation-of-age statutes to children's online contracts. To adequately balance the policy interests in protecting children against misrepresentation statutes' goal of preventing unknowing adults from being taken advantage of in the marketplace, this Note recommends that judges undertake a fact-specific, contextual inquiry of the online contract formation process.

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