Gilick competence refers to a child’s capacity to consent to their own medical treatment without their parents or guardians having to know or give their consent.
But in an era where we are always giving out our personal information through our digital footprint, does this measure for consent still hold water? And if it applies to healthcare, why doesn’t it apply to other industries, like gaming?
Join Alexander and Jason as they challenge today’s norms on parenting, data collection, and a child’s capacity to make informed decisions.
Human progress has reached a point where many of us are privileged to be living comfortable lives. However, this may have come at a cost: an increased aversion to taking risks, exploring freedom, and allowing independence. This extends to the way society believes parents should raise their children.
Helicopter parenting, for the most part, does result in some short-term benefits. The constant surveillance means that children learn how to succeed in a closed environment. However, the reality is that parents won’t always be there to enforce a strict routine and study schedule. At some point, children need to be given the opportunity to explore the world at their own pace.
Gilick competence can be established if the minor can demonstrate that they have “sufficient understanding and intelligence to fully understand what is proposed.”
With all the fearmongering and biased media we consume on a daily basis, it can be easy to think the worst of humanity. Allowing children to live, for as long as they can, away from making big decisions for themselves may seem like the smarter and more loving choice.
But the way children are treated in their youth will leave indelible marks on the people they grow into. If we want to help empower children and raise independent adults, we need to give them the space and grace to make big decisions for themselves.
As discussed in this episode, children are a lot more capable than we give them credit for. And the innate human desire to do the right thing, backed by statistics, indicates that the world is not as scary as we think it is. Helicopter parenting only serves to isolate children and hinder their personal development.
Is it really empowerment if they only know how to succeed in a vacuum?
Alexander McCaig (00:02):
Jason Rigby (00:12):
Alexander McCaig (00:12):
Jason Rigby (00:14):
Alexander McCaig (00:20):
Ren. Let's talk about Gillick competence and data collection. People are like, "What?"
Jason Rigby (00:27):
Alexander McCaig (00:28):
They probably don't understand what just came out of my mouth.
Jason Rigby (00:30):
100,000 Genomes Project. There was a hundred thousand kids.
Now we're talking about children. People are like, "What?"
Alexander McCaig (00:38):
Jason Rigby (00:38):
What are you talking about?
Alexander McCaig (00:39):
So, the British government and their healthcare system, being a part of their genome project, want to study essentially genomic development over time so that they can get better at health outcomes for their population. But it's an interesting thing here. So, the parents, in order for that study to occur for this genome project, the parents have to consent on the child's behalf. Apparently a child can't think for itself.
Jason Rigby (01:09):
Alexander McCaig (01:10):
Now the question is though what happens when the child gets to the Gillick age, or Gillick competency? So, in the UK, that's at age of 16. They consent for their own treatment, because the government feels they have enough intelligence and competence to understand and fully appreciate what's involved in that treatment, which frankly isn't always true.
But in this project here, there's something interesting about this data collection. What if it's a mentally degenerative disease, or it's autism? Does the Gillick competency still count at age 16, even though the person may be considered in some respects an adult? So, does that threshold still work? How does data collection work then at that point? Do the parents continually have to consent for this person through their entire life?
Jason Rigby (01:55):
Well, I want to talk about this in a vase. So I was telling you about this off- air, look at in different industries like Twitch, Zenga, Activision, Blizzard, these guys that are making Call of Duty and Candy Crush and all that.
I mean Twitch, I mean majority of their users are probably under 18.
Alexander McCaig (02:15):
Jason Rigby (02:16):
Yeah. Or a high percentage of them. So, you're looking at... You're collecting data from children.
Alexander McCaig (02:23):
Jason Rigby (02:24):
All day, no matter what it is. So is it okay in the game world, but it's not okay in health data? It's health data, because it seems to be more personal, it has to do with our bodies.
Alexander McCaig (02:35):
I think it depends. So I've been thinking about this.
Jason Rigby (02:39):
And what data are you collecting from? Is it being creepy and finding out where the kids are actually at? Is it catching geo data?
Alexander McCaig (02:49):
Obviously it's tracking IPS and stuff. What's interesting is how is that data going to be used? How you got to store it? Are you going to sell it to anybody? Are you going to keep the research private? Are you going to keep it anonymous?
Jason Rigby (03:06):
Or is there an ethical issue selling underage data? If we want to call it underage data.
Alexander McCaig (03:12):
Is it because you're selling on their behalf? A kid can go around and do chores or what the hell are they called?
Jason Rigby (03:18):
Yeah. Chores was back-
Alexander McCaig (03:19):
What's the word? How do you get paid for this stuff?
Jason Rigby (03:21):
Oh, for chores?
Alexander McCaig (03:22):
Jason Rigby (03:23):
Alexander McCaig (03:24):
A kid would get an allowance for doing some work around the house, but he's choosing to put in the work. So it's an interesting question, at what age, if someone's putting in the work to generate data, even if it's not personally identifiable, should they still have the right to sell it? Does someone have to choose for them? Do they have to wait until the Gillick competency of age 16 for them to know what's going on?
I don't know. I literally don't know, but it's-
Jason Rigby (03:50):
Because a 13 year old plying Call of Duty, he-
Alexander McCaig (03:54):
First of all, the 13 year old knows he's shooting somebody in the game. The idea, the objective is to kill.
Jason Rigby (04:01):
But I'm talking about around the voice recognition patterns, collecting the voice of them talking because they're obviously talking to each other, collecting the geo data, collecting how fast they're hitting their thumb buttons to make the games better. I mean, they're collecting that data to see what users are-
Alexander McCaig (04:18):
But those kids are 12, 13, even 10 years old playing Xbox Live and stuff.
Jason Rigby (04:23):
Well what happens when you sell it?
Alexander McCaig (04:24):
But here's the thing they're making a choice in a game to virtually kill someone. Why can't they make the choice in their real life to sell their data? Or even choose to share it through this genome project? I think that there's a little bit of a little bit of a contradiction here.
Jason Rigby (04:40):
Yeah. Because they call it collecting longitudinal life course data.
Alexander McCaig (04:44):
Yeah. Longitudinal. That's right.
Jason Rigby (04:45):
So whenever you're looking at and what they're really talking about is families that are affected by rare disease or cancer and then being able to, like you were saying, watch the genome sequence as it matures, as the disease matures in every part. To me, I mean, if it wasn't causing stress to my child, I would volunteer for this in a heartbeat because not only am I helping, I have potential to help the child, but then I can have the potential to help multiple children around the world because this data is important data.
Alexander McCaig (05:21):
]It's super important. That genomic research is so, so important. And I get, yeah, I mean, here's my point. They're saying that the age is 16 for this Gillick thing, but if a kid's on Call of Duty or spending extra money on Candy Crush for some sort of NFT, you know what I mean? Or choosing to shoot people in a video game and having a conversation about it and socializing.
Jason Rigby (05:45):
I mean the conversations I've heard them on Call of Duty, it's an eight year old kid being, "Fuck you." Yeah.
Alexander McCaig (05:53):
Let's not be naive here.
Jason Rigby (05:54):
This isn't clean. No, this is what you would see in C-17.
Alexander McCaig (05:58):
So yeah, this is my point. Let's not be naive here about competency. I think that the age is actually much lower than what this Gillick standard is actually saying.
I think the parent would only have to consent in the genomic sense for, I don't know, until the Call of Duty age. That's that's probably the way I'd look at that.
Jason Rigby (06:17):
I thought this was very interesting in this debate because they said there can be deep divisions of opinion between a young person with a health condition and their parents. Some may feel that their health condition, this is an article, adds to the richness of their character and they would not wish for it to be analyzed scientifically any further.
Alexander McCaig (06:34):
I would've never even put that together myself at that age.
Jason Rigby (06:37):
Some may wish that they had more information about the condition, whether cause or potential treatments can be identified. I would say there would be 90%.
Alexander McCaig (06:45):
Yeah. Obviously anybody would want to know how you fix it.
Jason Rigby (06:47):
There's got to be a small percentage of... I know me as a child and you know this, if I was diagnosed with something, I'd be like, "I don't want any scientific, this is who I am."
People are not comfortable with anomalies.
Alexander McCaig (06:58):
No, they're not.
Jason Rigby (06:59):
Never have been. Very few.
Alexander McCaig (07:00):
No. And here's the interesting part. I want you to tell me how I cure it, but I don't want you to analyze me. What do you want? Do you see what I'm saying? And it's tough and I'll tell you this. I don't have some life debilitating disease. I've never been in that scenario. I'm not a part of any genomic research study. So I don't know, I'm just looking at this from a third party, but I find it interesting the fact that you're refusing analysis because you're identifying with the disease, but the thing is you want to find a cure for it. Little give and take here.
Jason Rigby (07:32):
Yeah. And it's how you communicate it. I know Activision, I mean, that's a big... I know, Activision isn't communicating how they... I mean, they probably have it in their privacy agreement, but it's probably not and that'd be fun. We'll have to do a show on Call of Duty privacy.
Alexander McCaig (07:46):
Oh, that's interesting.
Jason Rigby (07:48):
People would love that one, but I don't think they're very... I don't think they're interested or the teenager because of a maturity level. I mean, adults do the same thing. They just skip over it and click.
Alexander McCaig (07:48):
All the time.
Jason Rigby (07:48):
They don't even look at it.
Alexander McCaig (08:03):
The kid will do the same thing as an adult. All they want to do is get into the match.
Jason Rigby (08:03):
The game. Yeah. Yeah.
Alexander McCaig (08:06):
Yeah. Do I really care about all this stuff? No. I just want to get in there and play. That's why I spent $80 buying your software.
Jason Rigby (08:13):
So my question would be, because I could get this if the researcher and the participants and the parents were in a room together and the researcher went over the aspects of what they're going to sign, human to human-
Alexander McCaig (08:25):
Yeah. Bro. Yeah. Let's break this down.
Jason Rigby (08:26):
And then said, "Hey, here's what's going to happen. Here's how your child's data, here's how the data's going to be used. We're going to get some information on you mom, dad too. We'd like to collect your genomes, so we could see maybe this was anomaly from generations or..." I'm just making shit up. I don't know. I'm not a doctor. But I'm not a doctor, Jim.
Alexander McCaig (08:42):
Jim, I'm not a doctor.
Jason Rigby (08:46):
But I could see that human to human going over the privacy agreement. I'm all in.
Alexander McCaig (08:51):
Yeah. That makes sense.
Jason Rigby (08:53):
I personally think a 16 old, you could go to a 16 year old and say, "Hey, you have this degenerative diseases. We'd love to do this. We're going to go over..." I wouldn't be worried about the 16 year old having the competency, I'd be worried about the researcher not trying to take advantage of them.
Alexander McCaig (09:10):
I think that's that's half the issue.
Jason Rigby (09:12):
Yes. You see what I'm saying?
Alexander McCaig (09:13):
They can very easily take advantage.
Jason Rigby (09:13):
Alexander McCaig (09:15):
Yeah. For profit.
Jason Rigby (09:16):
Yeah. Saying, "Oh, okay teenagers. Let's use you."
Alexander McCaig (09:19):
It's just an interesting thing. I mean when did you become cognizant about making your own choices? You tell your mother, "Mom, Dad, I want to play soccer."
Jason Rigby (09:27):
Alexander McCaig (09:27):
How fucking old are you when you say something like that?
Jason Rigby (09:29):
Alexander McCaig (09:31):
You're making your own choices at that point. So I don't think this Gillick competence thing is even legit. Does the child appreciate the value playing soccer? Of course. It brings them joy. They know exactly what the game is. Does the child know what they're doing when they're playing Call of Duty? Of course, right?
Jason Rigby (09:45):
Yeah. I mean, I don't want to get too philosophical, but I think it's this whole helicopter parenting thing and which was really cool. I mean, side note, this was awesome. I was listening to a guy, whether you agree, disagree doesn't matter. This is neutral.
Alexander McCaig (09:57):
I disagree. I disagree.
Jason Rigby (09:59):
Yeah. This guy, he wrote a book about how safe the world is actually and so he has a daughter and he lives, he's a psychiatrist. He has a daughter and he lives in New York and she's nine and he lets her walk around New York, go to the bakery, go get groceries if she wants all by herself. She has a phone, and he is like, people are like, "Where's your parent?" But she'll go and buy shit in the store and do stuff and comes home and she went for a long walk and had... And people are just like, "Oh my God, I can't believe." He goes, "It's actually really safe. It's a lot safer than it's ever been."
Alexander McCaig (10:39):
People hyperinflate data on child abduction and all that other stuff beyond reason.
Jason Rigby (10:44):
That child abduction is way down. Now I'm not talking about child molestation. I mean we've all had some weird dude in the bushes who's like, "Hey dude."
Alexander McCaig (10:51):
Yeah. The same probabilities will occur for a child walking across the street to get hit by a car and a full grown human being.
Jason Rigby (10:58):
Yeah. I would say there'd be more of a chance of the child getting hit by a car than any abduction. Abduction would be really rare.
Alexander McCaig (11:04):
This is my point. You've got 16 and a half million people or whatever it is in New York city, so then your probability of being abducted is down to here.
Jason Rigby (11:12):
Right. Yes. Percentage wise.
Alexander McCaig (11:14):
Statistically depending on how many people are in that area.
Jason Rigby (11:16):
And most people, I mean, when an accident happens or something goes down, you have a percentage of people that actually run and try to help in some way or call 911.
So people in general, humans in general, whether it's health data or whether it's... I mean, how many children or teenagers, we'll stick with teenagers. How many teenagers have done amazing things where they've save somebody's life? Pulled somebody out of a burning fire?
Alexander McCaig (11:42):
You're correct. You want to know something? I think we have this, this perspective that all of society is bad.
Jason Rigby (11:47):
Alexander McCaig (11:48):
And that perspective, there's so much data telling you that it's not, but you tend to think that it's bad because of how people project it to you. But if it was truly bad, we would've nuked ourselves into oblivion.
Jason Rigby (12:00):
A long time ago.
Alexander McCaig (12:01):
There would be an increase in severity of terrorist attacks. There would be more police brutality. There would be more riots and gang violence. That stuff would be out of control.
Jason Rigby (12:12):
I mean, we have 300 and how many million people in the United States that turn 30? Why aren't we having a terrorist attack every day?
Alexander McCaig (12:17):
Yeah. There'd be more credit card fraud. People just be storming into your home. There are fundamentals, the greater majority are positively oriented. The data just shows you that the world exists because of that.
Jason Rigby (12:32):
Well, we have a developer who lives in Pakistan, right?
Alexander McCaig (12:35):
Jason Rigby (12:35):
And I could go, let's go to some place like deep south here in the United States, like Louisiana and be like, I have a developer that's from Pakistan and their first response would be, well, he's a terrorist.
Alexander McCaig (12:46):
No, he is not.
Jason Rigby (12:48):
But the city, we saw it.
Alexander McCaig (12:50):
Jason Rigby (12:51):
Is like a metropolitan city here in the United States.
Alexander McCaig (12:54):
Jason Rigby (12:55):
And those people are living their lives.
Alexander McCaig (12:57):
Just false perspective.
Jason Rigby (12:57):
It's all false perspective.
Alexander McCaig (12:59):
It's skewing the data and so when I look at this-
Jason Rigby (13:01):
It's bias, skewing the data.
Alexander McCaig (13:03):
Probably a majority of the people that would use this data would do it for good and not abuse it. There will always be a small amount that do screw things up, but that stuff gets totally disproportioned.
Jason Rigby (13:15):
Yeah. Just don't give it to the government, Google, Facebook.
Alexander McCaig (13:19):
Well, let's think about just like-
Jason Rigby (13:21):
Big tech. They're not doing it... I don't think they're using it nefarious necessarily. They're just using it for profit.
Alexander McCaig (13:29):
They're using it strictly in a self to make more money self-serving benefit.
Jason Rigby (13:34):
If I can get free data to make money off of it. You just have an avocado. If we can not pay those farmers and get the avocados for free.
Alexander McCaig (13:43):
Of course they would do that.
Jason Rigby (13:44):
They would do that in a heartbeat.
Alexander McCaig (13:45):
Their margins, increase. Their shareholders are happy.
Jason Rigby (13:47):
100%. I mean, we're on a tangent here, but I want people to... We always have this view, especially when we think of children as it being the world against a child and to be very fearful and now we're taking data and we're saying, this is very fair. I guarantee you, you and I could go to the UK and we know a lot about data.
We could sit down with these researchers. They may have a for profit bent but I guarantee you, these researchers with these rare diseases are really concerned about solving this problem.
Alexander McCaig (14:18):
Yeah. If we interviewed ever single one of them-
Jason Rigby (14:19):
Have given their life to solve these problems.
Alexander McCaig (14:21):
They went to school to help solve these problem, you know what I mean?
Jason Rigby (14:24):
There's nothing nefarious about that. They may have to use a company, a genome company or something like that that's for profit because that gives them funding so they have to give the data for something like that but I'm going to say this, at the end of the day, I don't see a lot of super, mind meld. The guy how's the guy with the big mind?
Alexander McCaig (14:46):
Jason Rigby (14:46):
Yeah. Megamind. I don't see a lot of hims running around.
Alexander McCaig (14:49):
No, you don't. It's just human nature. And this will be my final example, this is the last thing I think I'm saying. You can do 99% of the things right in your life, relationship, work, whatever. But the second you do one iota of a thing, wrong, everything good you've ever done people forget about. It's just human nature to do that. We forget so quickly our past and this is why fundamentally data is so important for our future. That's all I've got to say.