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Harris, J., & Porcellato, L. (2018). Opt-Out Parental Consent in Online Surveys: Ethical Considerations. Journal of Empirical Research on Human Research Ethics, 13(3), 223–229. https://doi.org/10.1177/1556264618766953


This article aims to foster discussion and debate around seeking parental consent from young people recruited online. The growth of social media, particularly for young people, has led to increased interest in young people’s online activities as both a research topic and recruitment setting. In a health-related study, which sought to recruit young people aged 13 to 18 years old from YouTuber fan communities to an online survey, the question arose of how parental consent could be sought from young people below 16 when no link existed between researcher and parents/guardians. A practical strategy is proposed which combines novel communication methods for participant information, opt-out online consent and age verification to address this issue. Strengths and limitations of these approaches are discussed.