15 April 2019
The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has unveiled new guidelines for online services aimed at protecting minors online.
The new document, Age appropriate design: a code of practice for online services, sets out 16 ‘standards’ for age-appropriate design.
These include broad new guidance such as considering the ‘best interests of the child’, plus more specific guidelines, such as including an end to ‘nudge techniques’, which encourages children to provide unnecessary personal data or extend their use, and geolocation being off by default.
The full code was informed by views and evidence gathered from a wide range of people, including designers, app developers, academics and civil society. The ICO also questioned parents and children via research company Revealing Reality.
The code will be out for consultation until May 31st, after which the ICO will draft a final version to be laid before Parliament which is expected to be in effect within the year.
“In an age when children learn how to use a tablet before they can ride a bike, making sure they have the freedom to play, learn and explore in the digital world is of paramount importance,” said UK information commissioner Elizabeth Denham.