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The Privacy Advisor | The Privacy Advisor Podcast: How to raise kids in the digital age Related reading: Worse than negligent: Takeaways from Oath's COPPA settlement with the NY AG

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Marc Groman, CIPP/US, formerly the privacy lead for the Obama administration, sent an email to IAPP CEO Trevor Hughes a few months back about what a totally crazy thing it is to be raising a teenager in the digital age. Kids: They're obsessed with being online, and online companies are working obsessively to keep kids engaged on their sites, to the point that "online addiction" is a new diagnosis by medical professionals. M.D. David Reitman and Groman are raising an 11 year old. In this live recording of The Privacy Advisor Podcast at the recent IAPP Global Privacy Summit in Washington, Groman and Reitman talk about how to raise kids in this unprecedented digital age; even if it means taking away the iPhone. And we all know how that goes.

5 Comments

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  • comment Kerry Yun • Apr 27, 2018
    Really interesting stuff.  What do you think about apps that help parents monitor their kids (for example www.bark.us that uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to monitor your kids' social media, text and email to flag sexting, cyberbullying, signs of depression, etc and sends the parent a message identifying the concerning content, and gives tips on how to talk to the child about the issues identified?) In some ways, that protects the kids privacy because the parents don't have to spy on every aspect of their child's social life, and who has time for that (or knows how to decode it) anyway?
  • comment Linda Criddle • Apr 27, 2018
    The title for this that I received in email was "Podcast: How do we police kids to keep them safe?" I'd like to suggest that while managing kids online use (age appropriately) is key, of equal or greater importance is policing, and holding accountable the companies behind the websites they use.
  • comment Lisa Kim • Apr 27, 2018
    Excellent podcast.  Thoroughly enjoyed it and found it extremely useful.  Thank you.
  • comment Marc Groman • May 1, 2018
    Thank you Kerry for your comment and for sharing another approach for helping children stay safe online and be responsible digital citizens. After reviewing your post I visited the website for bark.us. I do not know enough about this specific app to offer an opinion. That said, it's fascinating and I intend to download the app and review it. I don't think that AI will catch everything, but it may be an effective and efficient approach for parents to identify high risk behavior. With respect to your observation about a child's privacy, every family will address this differently and every child is different - age, maturity, track record of responsibility, tech skills, etc. I think it's important for children to know that as the parent you may view their accounts and content. Even if that is not your intent or routine (and I respect that), one day you may need to do access a phone or account - it may be that much more shocking unpleasant if you set up an expectation that you will never do that. Finally, before using this app, I would encourage you to carefully review the privacy policy since the app will have access to potentially sensitive and personal data about your child.
  • comment Marc Groman • May 1, 2018
    Linda, thank you very much for your comment. As I noted during the podcast, I believe that industry has an important role to play here. I have repeatedly criticized the UI/UX in several social media applications that are directed at tweens and teens as well as many of the features designed to increase engagement. Every decision (small grey font "skip this step" on grey background), every feature (social score or streak) and every default setting (post is public unless you select otherwise) is intentional, carefully designed and engineered to maximize engagement and information sharing. Like many parents and privacy professionals who read this website, I believe that the potential benefits of new technology, devices, applications, and digital services are extraordinary. I personally own countless devices, my home is wired and connected, and I actively engage on social media. But when it comes to children (and I don't mean only children under 13 as defined in COPPA), I would like industry to implement higher standards and develop age-appropriate best practices that put the health, safety, and well being of children first. If not, industry risks further angering and alienating parents as well as reducing trust in our innovative digital ecosystem. I don't want that to occur.  We're all in this together - parents, industry, policy makers and yes, privacy professionals.