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The ICO Children’s Code team are launching an open call for transparency champions. We’d like to hear from online services, children’s rights advocates, designers, academics and anyone else working to deliver our vision to place the best interests of children at the heart of the online world.

Why transparency?

The Children’s Code transparency standard sets out a vision for better privacy information, where children can easily understand how, when and why services use their data free from friction, opacity or confusion. Online services are working hard to meet this vision. But we recognise there’s still progress to be made.  

A 2018 review of the 1,200 highest ranked apps targeted at children from the Google and Apple app-stores found the average reading age for privacy policies was 13 years-old – four years above the average reading age for an adult in the UK of 9. We’ve heard from stakeholders that privacy information can be hard to find and understand, and is too often treated as a tick-box exercise.

What does the open call involve?

Participants are invited to submit ideas and examples of privacy information designs that meet the vision of the Children’s Code transparency standard. The deadline for submissions is 23.00, Friday 30 April 2021.

Submissions can be speculative designs, early-stage prototypes, or already used in the real world. All sectors and services are invited to take part, from connected toys to edtech.

These submissions may be developed by you, or could equally support the good work you think others are doing in this space. Concepts could speak to some or all of the good practice outlined in the Children’s Code, including:

  1. Providing privacy information in a child-friendly way, using wording, iconography or other forms of media that are tailored to the age of child users
  2. Positioning privacy information within the user experience to ensure it responsibly captures children’s attention
  3. Solutions for providing “bite-sized” privacy information at the point that its needed by children
  4. Approaches for enabling children (and guardians) to seek more or less detail where wanted
  5. Designing effective incentives and controls that encourage younger children to seek the support of an adult where needed
  6. Examples of how organisations are measuring the accessibility and usability of privacy information
  7. Anything else that places the best interests of children at the forefront of privacy information design!

Submissions will be reviewed by the ICO’s Children’s Advisory Panel, who will choose a selection to publish on the ICO Children’s Code Hub as good practice for the Children’s Code community to learn from.

We won’t crown “winners”, nor use submissions for anything other than championing good practice. We recognise organisations’ Children’s Code journey is not finished, and we do not expect organisations to have produced perfect solutions at this stage in the transition period.  

How can I get involved?

We’d love to hear from anyone with an interest in championing better transparency for children online. You can submit a concept developed by you/your organisation, or submit the work of another organisation that you respect.

We are happy to receive submissions in forms compatible with email, including screenshots, weblinks, documents, videos. Please send submissions to [email protected].

In your submission, please include the following details:

  • Your name and contact details (we will only use this to contact you should we wish to discuss and seek consent for using your submission publicly)
  • A link or attachment to the submission concept
  • The name of the organisation or individual who developed/owns the concept
  • A brief (>100 words) explanation of how you believe the concept meets the vision of the Children’s Code and Transparency standard, supporting evidence, and areas for future development

Submissions will be handled in accordance with our consultation requests privacy policy.

Following the conclusion of the open call, we will be working with a design agency to develop further design guidelines and guidance to help online services conform with the Children’s Code. For more information on the Children’s Code, visit the Children’s Code Hub at