This reality can be explained by a paradox: on the one hand, adults consider the privacy of children much more important than their own. At the same time, online privacy is not a topic that is addressed very much with children – and when it is, it is often done by creating an app or a system that is used by children. Addressing such concerns in the designing phase would be more effective. It also turns out to be very hard for children and young people to figure out how to file a complaint. They often need a parent's consent to make a complaint or request for data erasure, when in some cases the parent is the privacy violator themselves.
Protecting children by first requiring parental consent is, in many cases, counterproductive. Children are silenced this way because they cannot make their own decisions regarding their data. Consider an example in which a parent has posted a photo on social media against the will of the child. The child must then request permission from the same parent to submit a complaint or request for removal. You understand the difficult situation in which the child finds themselves.
Simone van der Hof, Professor of Law and Digital Technology at Leiden University, and Thijs Hannema, Attorney at Kennedy van der Laan are discussing possible solutions to this problem in the podcast “Digital children's rights and the GDPR: an innovation opportunity”.
Find out more about the work of the Dutch Safer Internet Centre, including their awareness raising, helpline, hotline and youth participation services – or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe.