Anne Longfield, responding to the ICO’s consultation on online safety, said:
“The internet is an extraordinary thing but it was not built with children in mind. I want children to have the information, resilience and power they need to engage positively in the online world, rather than falling foul to companies and platforms which do not have their best interests at heart. This code represents an important step towards that vision.
“The code will mean that tech companies must ensure that privacy settings for children are high by default. Nudge tactics, such as Snapchat streaks and Youtube autoplay, which children tell us lead them to spend more and more time online, will no longer be tolerated. I am also delighted to see that the code will encompass connected toys and devices, and that companies will be required to present terms and conditions in language children understand – key considerations highlighted in my recent work.
“Critically, the code will apply not just to platforms aimed at children, but those that are actually used by children – whether or not the developers intended it to be. I am calling upon DCMS to adopt the same level of ambition in the development of the recently announced duty of care.
“Some challenges remain. For example, the code must be effective for children using their parents’ devices and accounts, as we know that is how most children first start using the internet. I look forward to working with the ICO over the coming weeks and months to ensure that the code is as successful as it can possibly be.”