What is the ICO Children’s Code and Why Does It Matter?

In September 2021, the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) released the Children’s Code, a set of guidelines for businesses that create products and services accessible to people under the age of 18. This code is important because it sets out specific requirements for companies when it comes to protecting the privacy of children.

The Children’s code is a code of practice that sets out how online services or products, likely to be accessed by children, should protect them in the digital world. This design guidance shows how to apply some of the standards in practice, in order to create an open, transparent and safe place for children online. Its resources focus on transparency, a common challenge for online services and a key standard within the Children’s code.

YEO’s target audience is not children, but it is available on the app stores for people under the age of 18. Therefore we must comply with the Children’s Code because our app is likely to be accessed by children. The YEO team worked closely with the ICO to provide them with feedback on their Children’s Design Guides. This gave them valuable insights to understand how a business team approaches the code and its guides. YEO is now featured as a case study on their website.

Sarah Norford-Jones, YEO Messaging Co-Founder and CMO said: “The YEO team reviewed and used the practical tools in a workshop – where we were able to define our user mindsets and create our own data privacy moments map. The privacy moments map, although designed for the children’s code, was in fact useful when reviewing the full user experience of the YEO product suites, website, privacy policies, and terms of use. The guide really gave the team the space to discuss and review with a different mindset which ultimately has motivated us to improve the design of the app and specifically how privacy and ‘risky moments’ are communicated to our users.”

If your business creates products or services that are accessible to people under the age of 18, it is important to be aware of the ICO Children’s Code. By following the guidelines set out in the code, you can ensure that you are protecting the privacy of children. Those that are in breach of the code are subject to being fined. For more information about the ICO Children’s Code, visit the ICO website.