What is ethical informed consent?
The informed consent of all research participants, including children and young people, should be sought in advance of their participation in a research project. In spite of this established ethical requirement, some confusion exits amongst researchers and research administrators about how to inform children and young people about research in a way that they will understand, and about the differences between ethical and legal consent. In some jurisdictions for example, adults are required to provide informed consent in advance of their children participating in research. This varies from country to country. The age at which children and young people can provide their own consent to participating in research also varies. However, in spite of these legal differences, the ethical requirement remains. Researchers should always inform children and young people about what the research involves, and seek their informed consent to participation. In this section we outline some key considerations that arise regarding how to seek the informed consent of children and young people to participate in research. We address a number of key researcher questions to provide more in-depth information under relevant headings. We also provide links to related resources.