I clicked on a Groupon and was lead to this screen. To sign up I got this message saying “all we need is access to all of your private data to optimize your experience”.
We now live in a world where clicking the Connect button has no significant meaning other than convenience, where we don’t value our privacy, and freely share through the ever growing amount of apps to record how much we sleep, eat, exercise, where we are, who we know, what we like (or don’t). Never mind that your smartphone - which you never leave behind - has GPS to always tell your exact location. And Twitter so you can tell everyone what you’re doing there too.
There is the argument, “If you don’t like the apps, don’t use them!”. That isn’t what I’m getting at here. I think these apps provide a great service, however, I am wary of how the data we’re freely sharing is being used - especially in light of recent bills such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, etc.
What I am most worried about is the future, when children begin to use these services. Our generation was a little lucky as we caught on with Facebook when we were 15-16 and had a little bit of judgement skills built up to not share everything (OK, maybe the senior prank wasn’t a good idea). We had some cognition of the way this data could be used.
What about when children begin to have Facebooks from the time they are born? When frenzied social media parents begin having kids, creating Facebooks for them, having them friend their kindergarten classmates and document their lives from the time they are born till the time they die? When you think about that, a $100 billion valuation seems like a steal!
With all this data pouring in and the increasing invasion of privacy, these kids will not know any different of a time where privacy DID matter. We will get a generation of adults who do not value privacy whatsoever, and then you begin down the 1984 path.
Now here comes another argument, “Just don’t let your kids use Facebook until you feel they’re responsible enough”. Acceptable at first, but really, when 80% of the other kids on the block are on Facebook, are you going to limit them? Even if you choose too, they will still find a way to create a profile and join; there won’t be a way to control it.
Again, don’t get me wrong, I still think Facebook and all these other social media companies are great. But moving forward, and especially for our children’s sake, we need to start understanding more about the dangerous game we’re playing with our privacy, and theirs.
As more children begin to sign up for Facebook, we need to educate them on privacy and to be careful online. Concepts of privacy and the possible repercussions of ignoring it are necessary skills in today’s world. This is on the level of importance of physical safety, nutrition ed, sex ed, and drug education (perhaps higher). I won’t be the crazy strict parent, but I will be forthcoming in teaching my kids to understand the online world and privacy. It will be an injustice to train their minds into just posting and uploading without thinking.