No set age when children understand privacy

A study by the London School of Economics suggests that children cannot be expected to be solely responsible for handling the complex privacy environment.

Further work is needed ‘to increase the transparency of data collection, improve privacy control navigation, enable granular control over privacy settings to match the elaborate data-harvesting techniques and create better industry standards around user empowerment’. Ease of use, ubiquitous functions and user-friendly features of the privacy setting interface may reinforce children’s privacy protection behaviours, the authors say.

The study includes an interesting table of children’s understanding of privacy by age. However, it concludes that there is no set age when children can be seen to achieve ‘privacy maturity’ in their understanding, which depends on many factors beyond age.

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