How can children’s experiences in a digital world be made age-appropriate? A range of child protection measures is designed to mitigate the content, contact, conduct and contract risks children encounter online. Such measures are developed as a matter of responsible business practice or to meet regulatory requirements (whether legislation, co- or self-regulation). The effectiveness of these measures in protecting children while also respecting children’s other rights depends on technical, regulatory, business and domestic practices and their interdependencies.
This report examines families’ domestic practices, while also recognising their structural and cultural contexts. It presents findings from a rapid evidence review focused on parents’ and children’s everyday actions, views and experiences of two child online protection measures: age assurance (service-level means of verifying the age of users with various degrees of certainty) and parental control tools (end user tools for parents to support the safety and privacy of their children online).
The aim is to understand the outcomes of families’ engagement with these measures and to formulate evidence-based, child rights-respecting recommendations for the future development of age assurance and parental control tools.
The evidence review involved a systematic search of academic databases (social sciences, human–computer interaction and related fields), supplementary searches and consultation with experts. The resulting 1,736 studies were screened for relevance, generating a sample of 61 studies that were analysed for this report.