The Paradox of Online Privacy
Expecting Online Privacy is an entitlement. But do we understand what it means? Have you ever tried to tap the top of your head and rub your tummy at the sometime? Give it a go, you’ll discover it’s quite difficult. This is a little tougher when you try attempt to switch hands. Try change which hand taps and which hand rubs. In some ways, this is what we are doing when we give children access to an online world. We want them to experience the advantages, while preventing access to the enormous amount mature or harmful content.
We are attempting to achieve two very different things at the same time. If we still demand the right to an online world, where free speech and adult content both exists, then we must accept children will be exposed to this content. If inappropriate content was the only issue for parents to address, we might have some chance, unfortunately it’s not.
Data Breaches Everywhere
It was revelled this week, Facebook permitted third-party companies such as Spotify, Microsoft and others to access, not only to your personal information, contacts, posts, likes, etc. but all your private messages on Messenger. This not only enabled third parties to access your messages, but also to create and delete messages in your name. If you’re feeling a little uneasy, upset and angry about this, you’d be right to feel that way. It is a total invasion of your privacy. However, it’s not like you can say nobody warned you, you did agree to this when you sacrificed your privacy to use Facebook and most of the other Apps installed on your device.
Since our inception, we have consistently spoke about how vulnerable your Personal Information is. Once posted, application developers profit from the use and sale of it. So why would people choose to ignore this advice? The answer is simple, we are shaped by our past experiences. When faced with any problem or difficulty in life, we first look to our own experiences as a means to solve or address it. Failing that, we might ask others for their opinion. They may have had some experience, which may help us come to our decision. Not many people will not previously experienced a breach of their personal information. So the advice they could offer, would limited in this area. But his is now changing, faster than you may realise.
What you post now may have consequences later
It is going to take some time, for people to comprehend the enormity of the abuse of trust by Facebook. But the one thing we can’t argue, is that we didn’t see this coming. Yet still we continue to ignore the small print before installing Apps on to our devices. Disregarding our own Online Privacy. When a data breach occurs, content believed to be private is now public.
Trial by Public Opinion
We all exist in a very politically correct world. For the first time ever, strong arguments are being put forward for a gender neutral Santa. Several old Christmas songs were declared unsuitable, due to the theme or words of the song. Only last week, the Comedian Kevin Harte, put forward as the host of the 2019 Oscars, then he had to step aside over a Tweet resurfaced, he posted many years ago. It was deemed to be offensive. We are all individuals who think individual thoughts. People can be judged others based on the contents of a private exchange. This has devastating consequences for an individual. What may be acceptable to one person, may be seen as highly offensive or prejudicial to others.
Others will judge you based on today’s values. They will disregard whether it was acceptable at the time, posted privately, or not public figure. There are few among us, who have the ability to foresee what will, or will not be acceptable in the future. When others decide they are going to make a judgment on you, based on your online content, interactions or search history, it could be argued that is a little unfair.
Considerations for a Parent
However, this is happening now, more and more often to people. Fingers are pointed by individual’s who are fortunate enough, not to have had their own private thoughts, beliefs or feelings cast in to the public arena. We do have the right to have our private data and personal information being protected. But breaches occur. We are continuously giving our consent to God knows who to access our personal information, every time we click INSTALL, ACCEPT or OK.
Looking at this online world through an informed adults eyes, you see commercialism and data harvesting on an industrial scale. Knowing this, we have to pause and reconsider. Why would we permit children to explore this environment blindly, unaccompanied and indifferent to the potential future threats. There is a greater threat from the personal data children are generating, then what parents would fear most. An encounter with an online predator.
Parent need to take a moment to reflect on this. Handing children Smartphones while still in at National Schools, is no longer appropriate. Children’s access to technology, should to be monitored and restricted. Outside of the many negative psychological impacts, underage access to unrestricted technology is having. The many advantages touted by the developers, are at best limited. Or failed to be delivered as promised. We do need children to learn about and understand online privacy. Engage with technology, and develop a resilience for harmful content. Learn how to use it in a positive way that will eventually benefit everyone. It is not acceptable to see children being used as a canary in a coalmine. It’s far too late to do anything, after the canary meets an untimely end.