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ICO marks the anniversary of the Children’s Code

ICO marks the anniversary of the Children’s Code

ICO marks the anniversary of the Children’s Code: “Children are better protected online in 2022 than they were in 2021.”


The Children’s Code was implemented in September 2021 and has led to major changes in children’ access to online services, including adverts and profiles. The Children’s Code, which revolutionised how children are treated in the  online world, is being commemorated by the ICO on its anniversary. This Code asks for online services, like websites, applications, and games, to offer improved privacy protections for children, guaranteeing their personal information is safe in the digital age.


Many positive changes have been seen over the past year. 


The ICO’s move last year led to modifications in video streaming services, gaming websites, and social media platforms. Some changes include blocking personalised and targeted adverts for children, setting children’s profiles to private by default, prohibiting adults from messaging children directly, and turning off alerts before bed. For users under 18, Facebook and Instagram only allow targeting based on age, gender, and location. In addition, during the registration process, Facebook and Instagram both ask for the user’s date of birth. If the user repeatedly enters a different date, their account will be disabled.


Along with new tools for parents to monitor their children’s use of the app, Instagram also unveiled Take A Break and other features to assist teenagers in managing their time there. For Google Accounts used by people under 18, YouTube includes default settings that disable autoplay and enable take a break and bedtime reminders.


Google has made it possible for anyone under 18 (or their parent or legal guardian) to request the removal of their photographs from Google image search results. Additionally, Google has expanded measures to prevent age-sensitive ad categories from being displayed to underage individuals. Nintendo only permits individuals at least 16 years old to open an account and customise their settings.


The code will continue to be assessed and modified to ensure that it has maximum impact


To ensure that the code has the greatest possible impact, the ICO intends to continue to adapt the strategy while listening to key stakeholders. For instance, a growing body of research indicates that children are likely to use adult-only services, which are harmful to data privacy since children may lose control over their data or be coerced into providing additional information, in addition to negative effects on the content.


They have consequently clarified their position to state that the Children’s code covers adult-only services if children are likely to access them. In addition to directly interacting with adult-only services to ensure they adhere to the code, they will also closely collaborate with Ofcom and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport (DCMS) to determine how the code applies to adult-only services and what they may expect.

Does your company have all of the mandated safeguards in place to ensure the safety of the personal data you collect or process? Aphaia can help. Aphaia also provides both GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 consultancy services, including data protection impact assessments, and Data Protection Officer outsourcing. We can help your company get on track towards full compliance. Contact us today.

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