A new report from England’s Children’s Commissioner raises concerns surrounding the collection of children’s digital data.
TechCrunch reports that a new report from England’s Children’s Commissioner raises an issue that many may not have considered — the effects of collecting massive amounts of digital data on children. In a report titled Who knows what about me?, Anne Longfield states that society must “stop and think” about the effects of big data on children and their future lives.
Longfield claims that the collection of data on children from a young age could result in their future life choices being shaped by their childhood digital footprint. “Children are being “datafied” – not just via social media, but in many aspects of their lives,” states Longfield. “For children growing up today, and the generations that follow them, the impact of profiling will be even greater – simply because there is more data available about them.”
According to the report, by the time a child is 13-years-old an average of 1,300 photos and videos of them has been posted to social media. As children get older and start participating more personally in social media, the amount of data related to them “explodes” posting to social media on average 26 times per day and generating nearly 70,000 posts by the time they’re 18.
“We need to stop and think about what this means for children’s lives now and how it may impact on their future lives as adults,” Longfield states. “We simply do not know what the consequences of all this information about our children will be. In light of this uncertainty, should we be happy to continue forever collecting and sharing children’s data?”
“Children and parents need to be much more aware of what they share and consider the consequences. Companies that make apps, toys and other products used by children need to stop filling them with trackers, and put their terms and conditions in language that children understand. And crucially, the Government needs to monitor the situation and refine data protection legislation if needed, so that children are genuinely protected – especially as technology develops,” she adds.
Read the full report here.