Do you read the fine print? You could be signing away your child


A recent study by the Social Science Research Center found that most people don’t read terms of service or privacy policy agreements from start to finish. Who has the time?

Well, you might want to consider making the time. 

In the study, researchers included clauses in fictitious agreements, such as being willing to provide a firstborn child as payment for a service. And 98% of the time, people missed these clauses and agreed to the terms! 

So what other terms of service could we unknowingly be agreeing to because we haven’t read the fine print?

Read more: What to know before you sign a contract

98% of people would give away their firstborn child because they didn’t read the fine print

According to, researchers created a fake social networking site and recorded people’s interactions with the privacy policy and terms of service agreement — the legalese presented before people are allowed use the site.

In the study, researchers included ‘gotcha’ clauses such as sharing information with the NSA and employers, and also about agreeing to provide a firstborn child as payment for the service.

The agreement said, ‘In addition to any monetary payment … all users of this site agree to immediately assign their first-born child. If the user does not yet have children, this agreement will be enforceable until the year 2050.’

Though the two agreements would have taken the average reader about 45 minutes to read, of the 543 participants, 399 skipped the agreement completely, while 144 spent 73 seconds reaching the privacy policy and 51 seconds reading the terms for service.

Clark said on the radio show that any industry requiring terms of service agreements or agreement to privacy policies for services needs to provide a simple box explaining what the user is agreeing to, instead of a long laundry list of legal terms that the average person can hardly understand. In the meantime, the website can help people better understand privacy policies and service agreements.


Read more: Report: Most people are putting their financial information at risk

Students at higher risk for ID theft. Protect yourself!

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