The United Kingdom government has enacted the Age Appropriate Design Code, often known as the Children’s Code, which offers a set of regulations that will make children’s usage of the digital space safer.
What is the Age Appropriate Design Code?
The Children’s Code is a best-practice data protection code for online services that are likely to be used by children. It establishes 15 criteria for internet services such as applications, games, toys, and gadgets, as well as news services. It is based on the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which recognises the unique protections that children require in all parts of their lives.
What are the risks that children face when they use the internet?
According to research, children were being targeted with graphic information within 24 hours of creating a social media presence. It demonstrates that platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok are allowing children as young as 13 years old to be directly targeted with a stream of hazardous information within 24 hours of opening an account. Despite knowing the children’s ages, the companies allow uninvited contact from adult strangers. These sites promote harmful content such as eating disorders, extreme diets, self-harm, and suicide, as well as sexualized imagery and distorted body images. Furthermore, these suggestions are not coding errors or defects. They’re made to increase the three revenue drivers: engagement, activity, and followers. They are currently not producing a secure place for children to study, explore, and play, while not being purposefully meant to hurt them.
Who is covered by the Code?
The Code applies to “information society services that minors are likely to access.” Apps, programmes, search engines, social media platforms, online messaging or internet-based voice telephony services, online marketplaces, content streaming services (such as video, music, or gaming services), online games, news or educational websites, and any other websites that provide goods or services to internet users are included. There are also electronic services for controlling linked toys and other connected gadgets. The regulation applies to both UK-based and non-UK-based firms who utilise data about children in the country.
It has the potential to radically alter the way corporations gather, distribute, and utilise children’s data, forcing them to provide children with a high level of privacy protection by default. The UK Code will compel digital behemoths to make their whole infrastructure child-friendly, rather than just one region. If tech behemoths standardise their security architecture, children all across the globe, especially India, will benefit from the Code.