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Child-friendly Terms of Use: Empowering children through social media Veronica Donoso 2 December, ICT coalition forum, Brussels.

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Presentation on theme: "Child-friendly Terms of Use: Empowering children through social media Veronica Donoso 2 December, ICT coalition forum, Brussels."— Presentation transcript:

1 Child-friendly Terms of Use: Empowering children through social media Veronica Donoso 2 December, ICT coalition forum, Brussels

2 The EMSOC project  EMSOC studied social media use in Flanders (Belgium) with a special focus on how their use and appropriation can affect user empowerment  Focus on children  Guidelines for awareness raising campaigns on privacy literacy  Self-regulation in the prevention of (cyber)bullying  Participatory policy-making for schools  Ketnet use case: Participatory, co-design sessions

3 Ketnet case study: Empowering children through participation (1)  Goal: convey legal communication in a child-friendly way  Why? So that children can understand ToU, privacy policies, etc. and their implications  How?  Give children (and their parents) a voice in the policy-making process  Involving users: Participatory design & Co-design sessions

4 Ketnet case study: Empowering children through participation (2) What? 2 co-design sessions with children and their parents How? Parents and children worked separately Top 10 Tips for (child-friendly) Terms of Use Visualisation of top 10 “rules” Presentation and discussion Analysis of tips and expert review of Ketnet ToU Elaboration of high-level guidelines

5 Children`s views

6 Children recognise themselves as active users of the platform They feel the need to teach other children to behave responsibly on the website => peer-to peer mechanisms New generations of ToU should find ways of successfully teaching and guiding children to behave responsibly on the online platforms they employ. o E.g. providing concrete examples of behaviours users of the platform (do not) approve of.

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8 Parents` views

9 Parents` views (1) Emphasis on protecting their children from third-party (e.g. commercial content) and adult contact/threats (e.g. grooming) Children = vulnerable individuals o not yet fully aware of the dangers o not fully capable of coping on their own with these risks They expect Ketnet to: o Provide tools to educate children regarding online risks and how to best cope with them o Expect the service provider to offer a platform which is extremely safe by design.

10 Parents` views (2) Parents expect media literacy and, in particular, e-safety information to be embedded throughout the whole website o Increase effectiveness of e-safety approaches o Ensure a real positive impact on children`s behaviour o How? Provide contextual e-safety tips Provide this information at key, relevant moments (e.g. when uploading a picture or when adding a new friend) Etc. Differentiated access to sections and functionalities depending on age Additional safety features on chat or other communication features (e.g. monitoring).

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12 Ketnet`s views The service provider struggles to find the right balance between educating children to behave responsibly and safely on the Ketnet website and trying to make clear to users what their (legal) rights and obligations are This conflict is evident in the structure (and content) of the current version of the Ketnet Terms of Use o Long list of unrelated general netiquette rules o Very specific “e-safety” tips o Allowed and forbidden behaviours on the website o Legal clauses (legalese)

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14 Recommendations for child-friendly ToU Inform children and their parents o When? creating profiles, downloading Apps, etc. Distinguish between legal & non-legal information: o “the rules of the game” i.e. the legal aspects (e.g. copyright issues) o The “agreement” i.e. the do`s and don'ts governing the use of the service (e.g. Don’t share your password and keep it safe!)

15 Recommendations for child-friendly ToU Inform children and their parents o When? creating profiles, downloading Apps, etc.

16 “Our agreement” Consider children`s needs and their rights Consider the legal aspects involved and translate this into a child-friendly language Easily-accessible to children at all times In order to encourage children to follow the “agreement” they should receive positive incentives for their good behaviour on the platform (e.g. access to higher levels in games)

17 “Rules of the game” (1) They should reflect the do`s and don`ts The timing of the information provision matters o Illustrate each rule with concrete examples Limited number of rules. Do not overload children with unnecessary information Easy-to-read o Improve legibility (e.g. using child-appealing typography) o Improve readability (e.g. child-friendly language + avoiding legalese)

18 “Rules of the game” (2) Attractive and emotionally appealing to children Engaging so that children feel it is meaningful for them to follow these rules o Not an external imposition Give children a voice in the rule-making process o E.g. provide an 'idea-box' for children to send suggestions The rules should be periodically updated o Based on children’s experiences on the platform

19 Conclusions “Developing skills for the digital world” => empowerment, transparency, “Increasing transparency in the case of children means communicating things differently, but openly, establishing clear boundaries regarding what is allowed on the website and what is not and, above all, relating the legal content as much as possible to children’s worldviews and experiences so that it becomes truly meaningful and engaging. Children are not adults, and therefore when it comes to legal communication, they should not be treated as such.” (Donoso, Van Mechelen and Verdoodt, 2014)

20 What`s next?  Bring guidelines to a concrete level involving users all along  Implementation of guidelines in websites targeting children  Finding interested potential partners to test guidelines

21 More info available at:

22 Thank you! Veronica Donoso ICRI/CIR, KU Leuven, iMinds


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