Children and Screens: Institute of Digital Media and Child Development announced the release of a landmark report, unveiling the significant impacts of the United Kingdom’s Age-Appropriate Design Code (UK AADC) on digital platforms. The Institute’s review identifies an unprecedented wave of 91 changes made across leading social media and digital platforms, including YouTube, TikTok, Snapchat, Instagram, Amazon Marketplace, and Google Search. The changes, aimed at fostering a safer, more secure, and age-appropriate online environment, underscore the crucial role of regulation in improving the digital landscape for children and teens.

The UK AADC is a set of 15 interlinked standards established in 2019 as part of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).  The AADC introduced privacy, security, and design standards and has since been the basis of both proposed (Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New Mexico, Nevada, Oregon), and passed legislation (California) in the United States.

“These changes, which span critical areas such as safety and well-being, privacy and security, and time management, mark significant strides toward mitigating the risks associated with digital media among youth,” said Kris Perry, Executive Director of Children and Screens. “Given the positive impact of the UK age appropriate design code on youth experience online, we hope that passage of similar legislation in the United States generates this same momentum. Children deserve safe and healthy online spaces.”

Using publicly available announcements from tech companies, the report details concrete steps platforms have publicized, various approaches platforms have taken in compliance, and the remaining challenges for both compliance and regulation. Authors note that the study does not determine whether or not platforms adhere to their own announced updates, nor does it delve into the critical area of government enforcement. Authors suggest these both need to be in-depth areas of inquiry in the years to come.

The United Kingdom’s Age-Appropriate Design Code (UK AADC) was conceived by Baroness Beeban Kidron, who worked with the UK government to get them implemented. The 5Rights Foundation, which she founded and chairs,advocated for the AADC in the UK and now the United States. To learn more about the 5Rights Foundation and Baroness Beeban Kidron, visit their website.

UK Age-Appropriate Design Code Impact Assessment

Read Children and Screens' report highlighting the significant impacts of the United Kingdom’s Age-Appropriate Design Code (UK AADC) on digital platforms.