New Beltchecker Rules for Youth Martial Artists

Safety is an important part of martial arts. We consider these things not only on the mats, but off as well. One of the places we’ve had to ensure safety is around the way children engage with the Beltchecker platform. As a result, we’ve had to make a few changes. We want to ensure that everyone understands not only what those changes are, but how we came to these decisions.

The first place we started was with children who are under 16 years old. We chose this point because of GDPR (EU General Data Protection Regulation). It’s also a logical starting point with respect to the digital age of consent. But to know people’s ages, we had to make sure that people are inputting their age into the site. This is the first change we made. When you register, you’ll be required to enter your age. Don’t worry, you don’t have to show it. But we’ll keep it safe.

For the Children

The big changes really come in to play when it comes to those under 16 years old. If you are under 16, the following rules now apply. Children’s profiles …

  • cannot send or receive private messages
  • cannot vote for other profiles
  • cannot write wall messages to other profiles
  • cannot send or receive friend requests
  • cannot post on the forums
  • will not show the total accumulated vote points publicly
  • will not publicly display who has voted for them

We aren’t changing the way the site works. We are simply putting controls in place to better protect our young martial artists. Profiles can still receive votes, update all profile details, log their training, be included in academy registration and attendance systems, etc. All received vote points and comments for these profiles will still be stored and logged. They will not be displayed until the user is 16 years of age.

We’ve also made some additional privacy changes for parents who are setting up a profile for their child. ID verification is not necessary in order to use most of the features on the site. This includes things like academy attendance and registrations. Profiles using a nickname and not having a profile picture can still log class attendance. The ID verification process can always happen at a later date or when the user turns 16.

Why This Change?

The goal of Beltchecker is to be a community validation system for martial arts belts. Beltchecker is not designed as a social media site for children. The decision to not display the vote totals in public is meant to discourage a “point race” for children. We have noticed a non-trivial amount of abuse from parents trying to get the vote points of their children lifted. The amount of vote points required for a child’s belt verification is already low. Additionally, the vote of a youth martial artist has been worth zero points from the beginning. The effects of these changes should be minimal. It won’t make the verification of a child’s belt needlessly difficult.

Summary of Changes

  1. Ages will now be a mandatory when registering. But this age can be hidden from your public profile.
  2. Children’s profiles cannot send or receive private messages, cannot vote for other profiles, cannot write wall messages to other profiles, cannot send or receive friend requests, will not show the total accumulated vote points publicly, and will not publicly display who has voted for them.

It’s important for us to be public about these changes. We want to ensure that everyone understands that we are a community driven organization that strives to do what is best for the global martial arts communities. Transparency and openness are a basic tenet of operation for us. Keep following us here to see the latest updates from Beltchecker.