UK Youngsters Unwittingly Exposing Data

Children in the UK are unwittingly giving away their rights to private data

Children in the UK are unwittingly giving away their rights to private data and putting their online security at risk.

 According to Children’s commissioner, Anne Longfield, youngsters are being left to “fend for themselves” with a study confirming that nearly 50% of eight to 11 year olds are agreeing to social media firms’ vague terms and conditions.

According to the commissioner’s Growing up Digital taskforce, children are giving social media firms like Facebook control over their data without any accountability.

The taskforce found that none of the children in the focus group could fully understand the terms and conditions of photo-sharing service Instagram – which is used by more than half of 12-15 year olds and 48% of eight to 11 year olds.

According to Ofcom three and four-year-olds spend eight and a quarter hours a week online, 12 to 15 year olds spend more than 20 hours and 70% of them have a social media profile.

Longfield has called on the government to add “digital citizenship” to the school curriculumfor children from the age of four.

She said: “It is vital that children understand what they agree to when joining social media platforms, that their privacy is better protected, and they can have content posted about them removed quickly should they wish to.”

A government spokesperson added: “The internet has given children and young people fantastic opportunities, but protecting them from risks they might face online or on their phones is vital.

“The UK is a world leader in internet safety, but there is more to do, and we will carefully consider this report as part of our ongoing work to make the internet a safer place for children.”

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