In today’s increasingly digital world, it’s more important than ever that parents and carers feel equipped to help children have the resilience, information and power they need to thrive online. There is no doubt that the internet and social media give children amazing opportunities to learn, to develop new skills, and to keep in touch with friends. However, it not always clear that the rights that children enjoy offline also apply online.
Terms and conditions for websites, apps and online services are often excessively long and very difficult to understand. This means that many people tick ‘I agree’ without ever reading the first line of a terms and conditions agreement. Yet buried within these documents is important information about the rights of the companies and the rights of the user.
In order to help parents, carers, teachers and children understand these rights, the Commissioner has worked with the law firm Schillings, who specialise in privacy law, to produce simplified terms and conditions for Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Snapchat and Facebook– the top 5 platforms used by children and young people.
Anne has also called on social media companies to commit to simplifying their own terms and conditions. In the meantime, we’ve worked with Tes to produce teaching packs aimed at children and young people at key stage levels 1, 2 and 3. These packs, which include the simplified terms and conditions as well as lesson plans, can be found here.
However, we know that parents and carers would also find this information very useful, so we’re am making them more widely available to download from our website. Creating short and simple terms and conditions is one of the first steps in helping children to understand their rights and become more informed digital citizens and we hope these tools will help parents and carers do that too.