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A Perspective on the Social Media Use of Generation Z

A recent article from CNBC takes a look at Generation Z (8 to 22 year-olds) and their feelings on social media. The article revealed that in an interview with a group of 17-year-olds, almost all said that they rarely watch regular TV and hardly ever use Facebook. It was also found that members of Gen Z are typically more conscious of privacy concerns when using social media apps than older generations, however they can have difficulty distinguishing between what is paid content from advertisers.

The teenagers spoke to CNBC after a week at London ad agency Isobel, which runs a summer school program for students. Two teams were tasked with creating an ad campaign to warn younger teens of the dangers of social media, before presenting them to a judging panel. One team cautioned children not to share their location on social media with the tagline “Your World is Theirs,” while the second group encouraged youngsters to “Pull the Plug on Online Hate.”

Flaw in “Messenger Kids” Fixed By Facebook

Facebook has notified parents and corrected a technical error that permitted thousands of children using the Messenger Kids app to join group chats not approved by their parents. The app lets children between 6 and 12 years old message and video chat with family and friends who their parents approve. It's unclear how long the flaw existed. The app has been controversial since its launch in December 2017, and child advocacy groups have repeatedly urged Facebook to shut down the app, arguing it violates a federal law aimed at protecting a child's online privacy.

Hacker Attacks on Schools Are On The Rise

The Associated Press reports that schools using education technologies are becoming targets of cyberattacks that disrupt digital lesson plans and could potentially compromise data. Schools "may be considered easy targets because they're a little bit more open than your traditional corporate culture," said Sean Wiese, chief information security officer for North Dakota, where a malware attack last year affected a large number of public schools.

Your School Collects Lots of Data On Your Kids. The Problem Is Deleting It

America's schools are awash in data, and while concerns about the privacy and security of students' information are regularly discussed, the Center for Democracy & Technology says there is one issue that has been mostly overlooked: properly getting rid of student data when it's no longer needed. "Deleting data is much more complicated than one might think, with a number of important policy, legal, and technical considerations," reads the group's new report, titled "Balancing the Scale of Student Data Deletion and Retention and Education."

Do you know what your school or district does with your child’s data after they graduate or leave the school?

Updating COPPA?

The Federal Trade Commission, which oversees the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), is considering updating privacy laws that protect children online. If you are unfamiliar with COPPA, it requires operators of commercial websites, online services, and mobile apps to get permission from parents before gathering information about any child under the age of 13. The act was put in place to give parents say in what type of information is collected and/or shared about their children online. The commission typically reviews rules every ten years to determine if changes in technology necessitate an update to the rules that go along with it. The FTC is holding a public workshop on October 7, 2019 to examine the COPPA Rule and seek comments from consumers. More details about the workshop can be found on the event page.

YouTube Moving All Kids Content to YouTube Kids

Here is a move you may want to keep an eye on. Bloomberg reports YouTube is contemplating moving all children's content to its stand-alone YouTube Kids app to shield young viewers from distasteful videos. This report comes in the wake of a Federal Trade Commission investigation regarding objectionable content and data collection practices. Executives created YouTube Kids to address these ongoing issues in 2015, but employees and outside watchdogs say the platform has come up short and research says that most children use the YouTube app rather than the YouTube Kids app on digital devices.

Facebook Wants To Be Regulated

In the wake of the revelations about the foreign infiltration of Facebook during the 2016 US election, Facebook itself is calling for government regulation. Of course we should not be surprised that they would also like to be part of making up the rules. Or at least that is what Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg told an audience recently in Europe, where new laws govern companies that collect, store or process large amounts of information on residents of the European Union, requiring more openness about what data they have and who they share it with.

Social Media Alerts Stress Young People

Keeping up with a constant stream of social media notifications on their phones is one of the main drivers of stress among students, reports The Associated Press. Some schools are taking steps to help reduce students' stress and anxiety, such as  engaging students in mindfulness activities, hiring outside firms to scan social media for signs that students might need additional support, and encouraging “unplugging” from devices. One teacher says he has seen a profound shift toward constant self-evaluation in the past 30 years that he’s been teaching, and he associates that with social media. He sees students constantly checking their Instagram, SnapChat, and even school grade portals – all outside forces students have never before had to manage.

What Happens at School to the Data Collected on Students?

Are you curious at all about what happens to the data collected about your children at school? Leadership coach Andrew Knips says in a recent article of Edutopia online that two things schools should factor in is students' culture and identity. In his blog post, he shares six strategies to help support more equitable data analysis, including steps schools should take to address implicit bias not only about culture and identity, but gender and disabilities as well. This is a very interesting take on how to use data to make our schools more equitable.

Advertisers Spending A Billion on Digital Kid-Centric Advertising

According to Adweek, advertisers will be putting more than $1 billion in the global market for child-centric ads. Privacy concerns have been voiced because of the data collected on the youngest users, even with laws on the books against such collection. Video-on-demand platforms like YouTube Kids and social media are big draws for media buyers targeting digitally-savvy children.

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