An unsafe world made safer

An unsafe world made safer

31st July 2020By nanhoodadminNo Comments

That little oblong thing in your child’s hand is a doorway to the world. 

My nephew thought that his son had no access to the internet.  He had put parental safety controls  ‘on’ . I took a look and found the 7 year old could download without any knowledge of his parents. 

We have less control than we think 

I decided to check out this online world a little more. The amount of data a child puts out about themselves, what they do and who with,  directly or by simply using the tool, is not in a parents control. Parents often add to the data circulating about their children without even considering the implications for the future. 

Companies love the free data

Mathematical formulae work behind the scenes to connect devices, link up data and form a record about every child. This is stored as it waits to be ready for use by advertising agencies, retailers and who knows who. The data is a financial gain for those companies but not for me or my grandchildren. Big money is made out of my little ones. 

Time online reveals all about your child

The data scraped from devices will reveal my child’s bedtime, location, mood, financial status, likes, vulnerabilities and when they are most likely to respond. 

As the   says ‘by the time a child is 18 there will be (at least) 70,000 data points about them’ held by companies who will ‘know your child better than you’. All of this without me as a grandparent or parent having any control. I gave it away as soon as I allowed the tablet to be opened by them, a wifi connected video to be on them or added information about them to my devices.

Children tell the truth but companies do not act honestly

Some children pretend they are older than they are to access apps. Even if they tell the truth they may still be able access the service.  So if  I have a teenager who is being bullied about their size my teen can quietly sit and access diet plans even though this may really not be good for his health. The darker side is my boys can join networks of other troubled teens tense about their changing shapes. This can damage their mental health too. 

The Information Commissioner has designed a code which will help protect children within the digital world. 

The Code contains 15 provisions for the protection of children and young people’s data. It requires all online services likely to be accessed by children to do the following.

  • Provide a high level of privacy to all under 18s by design and default.
  •  Avoid using children’s data for purposes that aren’t in their best interests.
  • Not broadcast or share a child’s location by default, and indicate clearly whenever location settings are activated.
  • Ensure that children’s data are not used to auto-recommend harmful material.
  • Turn behavioural advertising ‘off’ by default for children and young people.
  • Not nudge children to make choices that reduce their privacy.
  • Uphold the community guidelines that a child has signed up to.
  • Establish the age of users to a level of certainty that is appropriate given the risks arising from the data processing.
  • Explain the nature of the service in child-friendly language.
  • Provide easy-to-use tools to allow children to exercise their data rights.

It is legal from August 11th 2020. The industry has 12 months to prepare before action can be taken against them if they do not comply. Without the small charity  this would not have happened. I thank them in behalf of my grandsons

Top Tips

  • Never leave your child alone in a room with internet access
  • Never assume your parental controls cover everything
  • Take this very seriously, not to do so is like leaving your front door open when you are out and your child is in.
  • Use the power of the Age Appropriate Design Code made fully legal from August 11th 2021 to protect our children.