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Age Appropriate Design

Organisations that provide online services aimed at children now have less than 12 months to ensure they adhere to the Age Appropriate Design Code (AADC). Read more below to learn what this is, and how it impacts you.

As the world becomes increasingly digital, so do the products and services we use. Technology can be a great enabler, but we must take steps to ensure people are protected from any potential harm it may cause. This is especially important when it comes to safeguarding children. As more online products and services aimed at children enter the market, adhering to the AADC is crucial.

What is it?

In is simplest form, the AADC ensures that the best interests of the child are the primary concern when designing and developing online products and services, such as apps, websites or digitally-connected toys. Conforming to the statutory code will ensure that any organisation providing online services likely to be accessed by children in the UK, take into account the best interests of the child.

The code sets out 15 standards of age appropriate design, which focus on providing default settings to ensure that children have the best possible access to online services, whilst minimising data collection and use.

It also ensures that children who choose to change their default settings for these products and services get the right information, guidance and advice before they do so, as well as proper protection in how their data is used afterwards. This means organisations should follow the standards as part of their approach to complying with data protection law.

The AADC came into force on 2nd September 2020. Its 12-month transition period means that, by law, organisations must conform by 2nd September 2021.

Why is it important?

  • Statutory obligation from 2nd September 2021
  • Compliance with data protection law
  • To ensure that children have special protections in how their personal data is used, but also still receive ample opportunities to explore and develop online

How ACCS can help you adhere to the code

Our Certification Officers examine if providers of online products or services - including apps, programs, websites, games or community environments, and connected toys or devices - that are likely to be accessed by children in the UK are processing personal data appropriately and in accordance with the AADC. We apply ACCS 3:2020 - Technical Requirements for Age Appropriate Design of Information Society Services.

The first stage of gaining certification for your system is for us to undertake an Application Review in accordance with the requirements of ISO/IEC 17065:2012. There is no fee for the completion of an application review.

During the application review we:

  • Define the scope of certification;
  • Confirm the means available to perform all evaluation activities;
  • Confirm our competence and ability to perform the certification activity;
  • Confirm a plan for audit and evaluation;
  • Provide an Estimated Fee for our Certification Services

With less than 12 months to go until you must comply, now is the time to get certified.

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