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Perspectives on personalisation in children's products

30 November 2017

The Personalised Stories project, led by UCL Institute of Education's Dr Natalia Kucirkova, hosted an event with the Children's Media Foundation (CMF) to discuss personalisation in children's products

Boy using a tablet device at the table. Image: Kelly Sikkema

Helen McAleer IP, Publishing and Production Consultant and CMF Board member, moderated the event. The central focus was on the forthcoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), given the increasing possibilities for publishers and producers to collect children's data to offer an enriched experience of products such as story books. Personalised children's products present significant privacy, security and educational challenges, which the new regulation aims to address.

Dr Kucirkova spoke about the value and challenges of personalisation in children's learning, and advocated for participatory, child-centred design, to better understand what children really want.

Dr Elizabeth Lomas, Senior Lecturer in Information Governance at UCL, explained that a key change introduced by GDPR is the right to be forgotten and the requirement of privacy by design.

John Kent, content strategist and producer, formerly of BBC and Kids Industries, said that personalisation in children's industry is "massive", but presents challenges in areas such as exposure to inappropriate content.

Irene Ng, Professor of Marketing and Service Systems at University of Warwick and Chairman of the HAT Foundation Group, described how personal data controlled by organisations and governments could be controlled by individuals.

All speakers agreed that research, industry and policy-makers need to work together to capitalise on personalisation's potential for innovation. The audience echoed the urgent need for policy recommendations and regulations identified also in an earlier event organised by the IOE. 

Both events were sponsored by the Economic Social and Research Council as part of the Personalised Stories project.

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Dr Natalia Kucirkova

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