Privacy policies are incomprehensible to most underage users
The UK’s Children’s Code highlights the issue for younger people.
On September 2, the UK’s Children’s Code, formerly the Age Appropriate Design Code, came into force, which compels big tech firms who serve underage users to develop best practices and principles that protect their youngest users. But it’s not just the changes to who can message under-18s and how their data is handled that is an issue within the tech sector.
A new analysis by Pilot Fish Media finds that just one in eight website privacy policies are readable by those under the age of 18 – making it almost impossible for younger users to convincingly give their acceptance to the privacy policies that dominate the Internet.
Comprehensible or not comprehensible?
The goal of the work was to interpret the ages of people who can confidently understand the policies before accepting the terms and conditions. If someone isn’t able to understand the policies they’re agreeing to, it seems unlikely they’d be able to give properly informed consent to them.
It’s all about understanding
Others ranked much lower. ESPN scored a 30 on the Flesch scale, meaning that people aged 18+ would be the only ones likely to understand it. CNN, Netflix, eBay and Fox News also had scores in the low 30s, indicating a range of readers that would only be comfortable if they were school leavers.
“We’re all guilty of clicking the ‘accept’ button without reading the terms and conditions, but do we really know what we’re agreeing to when it comes to the privacy policies of our favourite websites and social media platforms?”- Pilot Fish Media