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The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) provides robust protections for children’s personal data in the European Union. Recognizing that children require specific safeguards, GDPR mandates stricter rules when processing their data. These protections aim to ensure that children can safely navigate the digital world while their privacy is upheld.

Firstly, the GDPR establishes that the processing of children’s data is lawful only if they are at least 16 years old. If a child is below this age, consent must be obtained from a parent or guardian. However, member states can lower this age threshold to 13, but not below.

Children have the right to transparent information about how their data is collected, used, and stored. This information should be provided in clear, age-appropriate language. Children also have the right to access their data, rectify inaccuracies, and, importantly, the right to be forgotten. This latter right allows them to request the deletion of their personal data when it is no longer necessary for the purposes it was collected, or if they withdraw consent.

Moreover, GDPR emphasizes the need for data minimization and purpose limitation. Organizations must only collect the data necessary for specific purposes and cannot repurpose it without further consent. Data protection by design and by default is another crucial requirement, ensuring that systems are built with privacy considerations from the outset.

Educational platforms and online services targeting children must be particularly vigilant. They are encouraged to conduct Data Protection Impact Assessments (DPIAs) to identify and mitigate risks associated with data processing activities.

Furthermore, children should be able to easily exercise their rights, such as objecting to data processing or withdrawing consent. Regulators also play a critical role in enforcing these rights and can impose severe penalties for non-compliance, thereby ensuring organizations adhere to these stringent requirements.

Overall, GDPR sets a high standard for protecting children’s data, reflecting the EU’s commitment to safeguarding young individuals in the digital age. Through these provisions, children can enjoy the benefits of digital services while being shielded from potential harms associated with data misuse.

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