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Report of the Digital Government Review

Parents, children and the next digital generation

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An ever-increasing proportion of children use digital services on a regular basis. Their expectations may differ from older generations because of this exposure and their familiarity with digital services. For example, their earlier exposure to smartphones, mobile apps and associated security models might affect how they choose to opt in/out of certain services.

As the digital transformation of government services increases parents and children will have to address the issues raised by transfer of responsibility. At what age should a child be allowed to access their own records online? When should a parent be refused access to a child’s records?

The NHS has been at the forefront of exploring some of these issues through the Caldicott Reviews. The last review, Information Governance in the Health and Care system [26], reported in April 2013 and touched on a number of areas relevant to this review.

There are some areas which the Information Governance report did not cover or did not specify in detail. For example, will the Government’s Identity Assurance scheme extend to children to enable them to log on to online educational services? Or when will a parent lose access to their children’s online medical records? Who is looking at these issues beyond the NHS?

As Government defines the baseline set of digital capabilities that all citizens can expect from the public sector, it must consider the evolving nature of this debate and the potential need to commission further research into such topics.

Recommendation 7

Priority: High

Government should define a baseline set of digital capabilities that all citizens should expect from the public sector and work across the public sector to implement this baseline by 2020.

When defining this baseline government should consider a full digital switchover strategy, parents, children and the expectations of the next digital generation.


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