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Safety by Design: Why does it matter?

Posted on Sep 28, 2021

Why a safety-first approach is key in protecting children in the digital space?

A safety-first approach needs to be implemented to keep children safe.

Competition between technology companies can be very fierce and gaining early market share is deeply important to commercial success. This may also create incentives for technology companies to make their service or platform as easy to access as possible. 

From the earliest stages in the design and development cycle of a product or service, companies should be required to anticipate how children might come to harm should they use it and to build in safeguards to prevent such harm occurring. Safety by design and privacy by default must be the new standard. At the point of first use the device or service should automatically be set to the maximum safety and privacy settings. This assumes all users are children and/or otherwise vulnerable.  

Additionally, when a company has verified that a user is a child, these settings should remain activated to a level according to the age and maturity of the child. For example, it may be appropriate and necessary for older adolescents to choose what they can and cannot see, according to the terms of service of the company and assuming they are not using the service in a parental control environment.

Safety and privacy should not be opt-in settings. Parents and children should not have to jump through hoops to get the best possible protection. Applying a ‘safety first’ approach is a practical and crucial step to keeping  children safe online. 

Why does it matter? Follow us on Twitter here to learn more and share your thoughts using the hashtag #ProjectBeacon.

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