However, when I created the account, I was hit with a notice telling me that while the birthdate I provided shows me to be over 13 (i'm 21!), that this machine had been previously used to create an account for someone under 13, and therefore they needed to verify my age for COPPA, whatever that is.
1) I can't think of ANY occasion, Livejournal or otherwise, where I have created an account for someone 13 or under. This is my own personal computer. I don't even live at home anymore!
2) Clearly that begs the question, why did LJ ask me to verify?
3) And even if I HAD used this computer to create an account somewhere for an under-13, how did LJ know? Is it strictly because of my IP address, or what? Furthermore (lots of questions, geez), does "account" mean ANY account anywhere, even outside of LJ? How on earth would they track that? (and if they are, that's just creepy).
Despite the fact that I am 21, in order to verify my age I needed to provide a "parent's" email and my credit card information. I really wasn't comfortable with LJ asking for my credit card info and assuring me I won't be charged - but with a disclaimer that any charges made are not reversible. However, this account is a paid one - so they've already got my info. I just went ahead and did it, since I was getting annoyed.
The parent email request was strange though. Why am I providing that? I gave an old email of my own.
(The account was basically unusable until I went through these steps, so I ended up with no choice.)
edit: I posted in lj_support and received an answer.
LiveJournal asks for this information for users who appear to be under 13 in order to comply with United States federal law (the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act, or COPPA) regarding Internet safety. It is possible that you entered an incorrect date of birth when you registered your second account. Alternately, your computer may have been usedby someone else to register for a LiveJournal account, and that person indicated that they were under the age of thirteen. This may also sometimes happen when some of the information sent from LiveJournal to your computer (or vice versa) becomes corrupted or malformed. This is not based on IP address, or accounts on any site other than LiveJournal.
The reason you are asked to provide an email other than the one you used to sign up for the account is to help prevent users who truly are under 13 from using their parents' credit cards without their knowledge. As you have figured out, since you are over 13, you can use a secondary email of your own instead of using your parents' email address.
The disclaimer that charges made are not refundable is standard on all of LiveJournal's pages that ask for credit card information and does not mean that your credit card will be charged for validating your account. LiveJournal only uses this information to verify that the credit card is valid; it does not charge your account unless you choose to buy something. I apologize for the inconvenience caused by this.