Ethical Research Involving Children

Research with children and young People: The issue of parental (proxy) consent.

Coyne, I. (2010). Research with Children and Young People: The Issue of Parental (Proxy) Consent. Children & Society, 24(3). pp. 227-237.

Abstract: This study examines the potential problems with the parental consent requirement, substantiated with examples mainly from healthcare and social research studies. This will illustrate how the parental consent requirement, instead of promoting high ethical standards, may result in some instances of children’s rights and ethical considerations being ignored or receiving cursory attention. The ‘blanket’ requirement of parental consent for all research involving children under the age of 18 years needs to be challenged as it fails to recognise children’s capacities and accord children due respect as persons in their own right. Flexible ethical guidelines should be developed that take cognisance of children’s competence in contemporary society and at the same time protects children from inappropriate research and procedures. (Abstract published by arrangement with Wiley Subscription Services, Inc.).

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