A Lawyer Rewrote Instagram’s Terms of Use So Kids Can Understand Them

In their recently released report titled “Growing Up Digital,” the UK Children’s Commissioner did something we wish tech companies would do more of: they had a lawyer “translate” Instagram’s Terms of Use into language that children (and their parents) could actually understand.

The report was put together to tackle the issue of educating children on how to properly “negotiate” their digital lives. To this end, the Commissioner is asking the UK’s government to implement three changes, one of which is to require companies to draft simplified Terms and Conditions for children.

The report used Instagram’s Terms of Use as an example, asking Jenny Afia, a privacy law expert at UK-based law firm Schillings, to rewrite the terms in kid-friendly language. The result, which you can read for yourself here, is refreshingly easy to understand.

So this bit of legalese:

Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service…

Becomes this:

Officially you own any original pictures and videos you post, but we are allowed to use them, and we can let others use them as well, anywhere around the world. Other people might pay us to use them and we will not pay you for that.

Or this piece about advertising:

Some of the Service is supported by advertising revenue and may display advertisements and promotions, and you hereby agree that Instagram may place such advertising and promotions on the Service or on, about, or in conjunction with your Content. The manner, mode and extent of such advertising and promotions are subject to change without specific notice to you.

Becomes this:

We might send you adverts connected to your interests which we are monitoring. You cannot stop us doing this and it will not always be obvious that it is an advert.

The “translation” goes on, explaining Instagram’s rights and the rights of the user… or, more importantly, the rights the user is giving up. This, maintains the Commissioner, is information kids growing up in the Age of the Internet need. The kids the Commissioner spoke to for the report seem to agree.

“I think they should show these [simplified] Terms and Conditions to people who sign up because otherwise you don’t really know what you’re signing up to,” said 13-year-old Amy after being shown the translated version. “They write it like this so you can’t understand it. Because then you might think differently.”

To read the full report and see the “translated” terms in full, click here.

(via QZ via Reddit)

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