What do children ask for?

We talked with 165 children across the UK about their privacy online. They asked lots of questions about online privacy, and made many suggestions for changes they want.

Sonia Livingstone, LSE




“Who has got my personal data? How long do they keep it, and what do they do with it?”

A lot of young people don’t like the idea of companies knowing personal things about them or collecting and sharing information without their knowledge. They want companies to:

  • Have short, clear and understandable Terms and Conditions
  • Make accounts private by default
  • Not sell or share data with other sites or services
  • Allow opting-out of data collection
  • Only ask for information when relevant

“Where does deleted data go? Is it really gone?”

Young people worry about what happens when you delete your account - does the company keep your data? They say it is hard to find how to delete their account and have many suggestions for companies, including:

  • Delete data automatically after a short amount of time (e.g. two years)
  • Clearly explain what data they have about you
  • Make it easier to erase accounts
  • Ensure that deleted apps or information are permanently erased

“Why don’t they fix it? Why is reporting stuff so hard?”

Most young people we spoke to were annoyed that their complaints were not being taken seriously, or that companies were slow to respond. They think that companies should:

  • Make online content more appropriate for children of different ages
  • Take down hostile content as soon as possible
  • Be more responsive to user concerns and complaints