Can students under 13 participate in Camp NaNoWriMo?

Technically, the Camp NaNoWriMo website is not COPPA compliant, hence the 13 or older rule. However, there's nothing explicitly adult about the Campsite. We have a few guidelines to help protect your students’ privacy, so you can make an informed decision about using the Campsite with your younger students:

  • When students create accounts, they need access to an email address. This is the only personal information we collect, and it's purely for the purpose of confirming the account. We never use any personal information for commercial purposes.
  • Students should create purposefully anonymous usernames without any hint of their first or last names (like Adjective+Noun, i.e. ElegantButterfly or BrightAlligator).
  • Once logged in, direct students to “My Camp NaNo” and then “Account Settings," where they should make the following changes: In “Edit Cabin Settings,” change their cabin settings to "I don't want to be included in a cabin." That will prevent them from being sorted into a public (rather than your private) cabin. In "Edit Project Info," declare a project for Camp. They must declare a project before they can be invited to a cabin. In “Edit Email Preferences,” uncheck all boxes and click "Submit" to unsubscribe from all emails. Do not allow them to add any personal info to the “Edit Camper Info” section.
  • You (the educator) should then create a private cabin and invite your students to join. Cabins can have up to 20 members this year, including you. Members can post messages on a private cabin message board. Only members of the cabin can see them.
  • After they have joined the private cabin, redirect them to “Edit Cabin Settings” and have them select “I don't want cabin invitations this session.” This will prevent them from receiving any cabin invitations from other users.
  • Direct students not to click on the NaNoWriMo Forums link under “Conversation” on the Campsite. Again, there’s nothing explicitly adult about the forums, but under-13 year olds should not be chatting online with strangers, according to COPPA (and common sense!).
  • Have a conversation with students about using the Camp Inbox "Message a Camper" feature responsibly, or direct them to stay away from it. Camp NaNo users can input another camper's username to send a message to them. You could take the opportunity to discuss not sharing private information, including usernames, with strangers.

Another option, if you have a Gmail account, is for you to use alias accounts to create your students’ accounts and prepare these user settings in advance. You can find out more about alias accounts here.

Inform parents of Camp NaNoWriMo’s Privacy Policy and the above guidelines, and give them the chance to provide or revoke consent. Be sure to explain that no personal information besides an email address is collected and they can withdraw their permission and delete their child's account at any time.

If you'd like student accounts to be deleted, or you have any questions about students’ safety on Camp NaNoWriMo, please email

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