Dealing with Children’s Data
According to the GDPR, children merit specific protection with regard to their personal data, as they may be less aware of the risks, consequences and safeguards concerns and their rights in relation to the processing of personal data.
Definition under the GDPR
Any information given to, or provided in communication with, a child must be in “such a clear and plain language that the child can easily understand”.
Where a child asks a business to provide a service for which payment is normally made, parental consent will be required unless the child is aged 16 years or over.
How does GDPR Age of consent differ across EU ?
Many EU member countries have the same age as the UK, with only one or two older and surprisingly some nations having no provisions at all.
- Austria – 14 years old
- Belgium – 13 years old
- Czech Republic – 15 years old
- Denmark – 13 years old
- Finland – 13 years old
- France – 15 years old (or younger with parental consent)
- Germany – None
- Hungary – None
- Ireland – 16 years old
- Italy – 14 years old
- Netherlands – 16 years old
- Poland – None
- Slovakia – 16 years old
- Spain – 14 years old
- Sweden – 13 years old
What should your business be doing?
First, consider whether any of your services are targeted at children, or used by children. If so, it is important to ensure that your terms and conditions are up to date and satisfy the “clear and plain language” requirement.
Secondly, if your business does process any personal data relating to children, review how you obtain consent at the point of collecting that data. Do you take steps to verify the child’s age? Are those steps reasonable? And if the child is under 13 years old (in the UK), how can you ensure that you obtain the consent of someone with parental responsibility for that child?
And then take steps to ensure that, should a data subject ever look to exercise its rights under the GDPR, you verify the age of the data subject before responding …and if the data subject is a child, ensure you respond in suitable language. Or potentially, if the child is particularly young, consider responding instead to somebody with parental responsibility for the child.
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