NEWS2 September 2021

UK children’s data code comes into force

News Privacy Technology UK Youth

UK – The children’s code, a data protection code of practice for online services likely to be accessed by children, has come into effect.

Child on phone

The Age Appropriate Design Code came into force on 2nd September 2020 with a 12-month transition period for organisations to prepare for compliance.

The code contains 15 standards for services including social media platforms, apps, games, connected toys and devices, and news services.

The code applies if children are likely to access a service, regardless of whether they are the target audience or user. It applies both to UK-based companies and companies processing the personal data of children in the UK.

Stephen Bonner, executive director of regulatory futures and innovation at the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO), said: “Currently, some of the biggest risks come from social media platforms, video and music streaming sites and video gaming platforms.

“We’re concerned with a number of harms that could be created as a consequence of this data use, which are physical, emotional and psychological, and financial.”

Several social media companies including Facebook and TikTok have made changes to their child privacy measures ahead of the code coming into force.

Bonner added: “Children’s rights must be respected and we expect organisations to prove that children’s best interests are a primary concern. The code gives clarity on how organisations can use children’s data in line with the law, and we want to see organisations committed to protecting children through the development of designs and services in accordance with the code.”