What teens have to say about the GDPR and their Online Rights

Almost 5,000 teens have expressed their views on the impact they fear the GDPR may on their lives when it comes into force just four months from now. Whilst they understand and appreciate the improved protection it will bring, having to ask for parental consent – in some countries until age 16 – is an issue of huge concern. Above all, they fear that this will impact on some fundamental rights

of the child, especially linked to freedom of expression, access to information and privacy, and the ways they like to socialize with friends. They also point out that parents often don’t understand implications for personal data as well as they do, and are more easily influenced by media hype that could make them unnecessarily fear certain sites.

The 8,000 or so teachers and parents involved in this GDPR consultation show little more enthusiasm about having to give consent to allow minors access to information society services. As pointed out by Esther Salamon, President of the European Parents Association: : “This is a breach of parents’ rights; parents know their children best, and want to choose for themselves what decisions their children can make autonomously at which age, and what parenting tools they wish to implement”.

So far teens have shared their ideas in almost 800 memes, posters, comic strips etc. through the social media platforms of their choice, using #GDPR and #GDPRHaveYourSay hashtags to share their creations. Many of them can be seen on this facebook page where visitors are welcome to add their own comments. The consultation will run until 1st April, and the consultation kit will be available in a dozen languages at www.insight2act.net.

When it come into effect across the EU on 25 May 2018, the GDPR will implement several measures to increase privacy and personal data protection online. Recent studies show that the growing trend towards autocracy and a diminishing confidence in government is pushing young people to express a need for more freedom of expression, unharnessed by parental consent requirements such as those it will impose. As Sophie Vuillet-Tavernier of the French national commission for data protection and liberties (CNIL) recently stated in reference to the GDPR, “It is time we do as suggested by United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and seek the opinion of those who will be most impacted by the GDPR, that is, the young people themselves.”

This is precisely what our consultation is doing, and shall continue to do.

The #GDPRHaveYourSay Working Group* will be happy to hear from anyone wishing to translate, adapt and run the Teen Action Kit in their own countries/languages, thus giving more youth the right to be heard. Learn more and share your thoughts and ideas at another facebook page.