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Within the GDPR children are now defined and there are special requirements you need to be aware of: Children under 13 can never, themselves, give consent to the processing of their personal data in relation to online services.

For children between 13 and 15 (inclusive) the general rule is that parental consent must be obtained unless Member States legislate to reduce the age threshold.

Children aged 16 and over may give consent for the processing of their personal data.

When you recruit children there are special requirements. Children are classed as individuals under 16 years of age. Young people are aged 16 and 17. The consent of a parent, or responsible adult (in loco parentis), must be obtained before speaking to or interviewing a child. Parents, or responsible adults, must be given sufficient information about the nature of any research project to enable them to provide informed consent for their child to be interviewed and to take part in the research. The child or young person must have their own opportunity to decline to take part in the research. Parents, or responsible adults, must also be fully informed of any products or stimulus material which the child may be asked to try or use. Verifiable consent must be given by parents/the responsible adults before any research takes place. A parental consent form will usually be supplied by a researcher to be signed before any research takes place.  If the research is to be conducted without parents/responsible adults being present then this should be part of the instruction at the time consent is gathered from the responsible adults.

The MRS Code and guidelines prohibit research being undertaken on behalf of manufacturers, or providers of products or services, where the product or service is illegal for the age group involved in the research e.g. buying alcohol for under 18s or gambling for under 16s.  Research which encourages, or appears to encourage, illegal behaviour such as underage drinking or gambling is also prohibited.

The only exception to this is when research needs to be conducted to ensure products or services are not manufactured or marketed in such a way that encourages under age use or consumption. In each case research may only be conducted with children with the explicit and prior approval of the MRS Market Research Standards Board.


MRS Guidelines for Research with Children and Young People
Parental or Responsible Adult Information and Consent form