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UK ICO calls upon social media platforms to improve privacy and protection for kids


April 05, 2024

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UK ICO calls upon social media platforms to improve privacy and protection for kids

UK privacy watchdog says safeguarding children’s online privacy on social media and video-sharing platforms is a crucial priority in their 2024-2025 Children’s Code strategy.

The recently published agenda of The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) sheds light on the risks children face online and how social media platforms should commit to protecting their information.

The privacy regulator pointed out numerous dangers that children may be exposed to whenever they go online, including:

· Being targeted by strangers

· Being inappropriately identified

· Having their location tracked

· Being sent harmful communications

“While we have seen progress made by such platforms, their processing of children’s personal information may not always be in children’s best interests,” the ICO said. “More needs to be done to keep children’s personal information safe. Research and engagement, evidence from academics and civil society, and learning from other regulators and civil court cases, suggest that using these platforms can increase the potential for significant harm to children. This is attributable to how platforms process children’s personal information.”

The recently published priorities include:

· Ensuring kids' profiles are private by default – with geolocation settings turned off to block the ability to track the location of any child and it being misused to compromise their safety.

· Ensuring that targeted ads are turned off by default unless there’s a compelling reason to use profiling.

“Children may not be aware that their information is being gathered or that it can be used to tailor the adverts they see. This may impact children’s autonomy and control over their personal information. It could lead to financial harm, where adverts encourage in-service purchases or additional app access without adequate protections in place,” the ICO explained.

· Changing the way “recommender systems” use behavioral profiling and children's search results that could lead them to harmful content or encourage them to spend extended periods on the platform.

  • Parental consent is required for all children under the age of 13 for their personal information to be used by any online service, including social media and video-sharing platforms.

Need help ensuring your family’s online safety?

Bitdefender security solutions offer a comprehensive range of tools and features designed to help parents protect their children in the digital world. One key feature is the advanced parental control function that allows you to set appropriate restrictions on your children's online activities by:

- Easily managing screen time limits

- Blocking access to inappropriate websites or content

- Real-time notifications and alerts that help you stay informed about your kids’ online behavior




Alina is a history buff passionate about cybersecurity and anything sci-fi, advocating Bitdefender technologies and solutions. She spends most of her time between her two feline friends and traveling.

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