As Children’s Commissioner I have made it a priority to investigate ways to protect and empower children online while holding social media companies to account. I am therefore pleased to hear that, thanks to the campaign led by Baroness Kidron, the Government has laid a critically important amendment to the Data Protection Bill which will see the UK leading the way in ensuring better protection for children’s data.
For the first time, the development needs of children will be taken into consideration in the design of online services, including social media. This commitment will also see the development of a code by which the Information Commissioner can judge the data provisions of online services that are specifically designed for children.
This code will cover many elements that I have long campaigned for, including the need for simplified Terms and Conditions so that children understand what they are signing up to and the examination of both location tracking and in-built strategies designed to keep children hooked on platforms. It will also demand greater transparency around advertising and use and sale of the data they generate.
I welcome this amendment and am pleased to see the best interests of children placed at the heart of this Bill. I will continue to work closely with Government and the Information Commissioner to ensure that this is followed by robust regulation and ultimately, a more supportive digital environment for all children.
5Rights Founder, Baroness Kidron commented:
“These amendments unequivocally establish that children are children – even online. And I hope that all of us can now continue to work to make certain that the same principle is reflected in every aspect of a child’s digital life – there is still much to do”.