This morning I had a chat with UCB Radio, in response to the story that Anne Longfield, the Children’s Commissioner, has been pushing the social media companies to make their terms and conditions a lot clearer, in order to help users (including children) understand better what is happening with their data. A new jargon-busting guide’s being given to schools – to help children understand terms and conditions on social media sites, because of concerns kids don’t realise how much information they’re handing over – there is now a plain English version for each of the major social media sites. Here’s the edited interview:
Links I checked out pre-interview – and the guides themselves always put first that ALL the sites require children to be over 13 to create an account:
- LBC interview from 28th September, in which Anne Longfield said that legally she can’t push the companies to comply, but she can ‘shame them’ into feeling like they have to respond to her calls for further information.
- BBC News article from 29th September, which emphasises that Longfield feels the companies have ‘not done enough’ to clarify their policies, and that she’d worked with a legal company to created a simplified version – although the social media companies indicate that the simplified versions = inaccurate.
- BBC Newsround from 29th September where children talk about the fact they don’t read T&Cs – made me think not sure anyone reads any of them – so all in favour of greater clarity!
- Sky News from 29th September, where I wondered how much of this is scaremongering. The title says: “Social media sites can access credit card details, users’ locations and contacts and even see how much battery you have left. I do think that it’s important to understand what social media companies can access, often a few tweaks to settings can be enough. Is something am looking at for a paper – we have learnt what to show our friends, but not the social media companies – though they are usually interested in aggregate rather than individual results.
- Dudley News from 29th September – sometimes the regional papers seem to write a little more! With Ofcom demonstrating how many under-13s use social media, important to get this right (for all ages). “These are often the first contracts a child signs in their life, yet the terms and conditions are impenetrable, even to most ad ults. Children have absolutely no idea that they are giving away the right to privacy or the ownership of their data or the material they post online….These are large, multinational, billion-dollar companies who play a significant part in the lives of many young people.”
- You can find links to the guides themselves via the TES site (and probably elsewhere!)
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