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Published 20.07.23

Crafting of the Code of Conduct on age-appropriate design kicks off

news article EC

At July 13, 2023 the Special Group on Code of Conduct for age-appropriate design convenes for its first meeting, an important step under the Better Internet for Kids Strategy (BIK+)

One of the key actions for the Commission under the BIK+ strategy focuses on helping implement legislation, through drafting a comprehensive code of conduct on age-appropriate design, for industry to sign up to. The Code of Conduct for age-appropriate design, envisioned as a collaborative effort, is set to play a pivotal role in shaping how industry treats its youngest.

Comprising representatives from industry (including via trade associations), academia and civil society, the special group is made of 21 members selected following a call for expression of interest. On behalf of the Commission, DG Connect will chair the Special Group and ensure secretarial services via the Better Internet for Kids+ Platform contractor. The Group's collaborative efforts are expected to create a balanced and comprehensive framework that encourages responsible behaviour from all parties involved with children in the digital sphere.

With the ever-expanding reach and influence of online services, ensuring the well-being and safety of young users is a priority, and the timing for crafting the Code is very opportune. The Digital Services Act (DSA) implementation is starting, after the Regulation entered into force in November 2022. The first 17 very large online platforms (“VLOPs”) and 2 very large search engines (“VLOSEs”) were designated at the end of April. Following their designation, the companies have four months to comply with the full set of new obligations under the DSA. The DSA makes significant changes to the digital landscape, and among many new obligations, all online platforms accessible to minors must ensure a high level of privacy, safety and security for minors on their service. It also introduces stricter penalties for non-compliance and empowers authorities - at European and at national level - to take action against systemic risks posed by digital services.

The Code's primary focus will be to build upon and support the implementation of the DSA, specifically emphasizing provisions dedicated to safeguarding minors. It will also actively contribute to the Audio-Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and be in line with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and robust monitoring will be inherent elements of the Code. However, it is important to note that while the Code builds on the provisions of the DSA, it will not affect enforcement of the DSA’s obligations.