This week I decided to explore the idea of privacy and children’s rights. This is particularly interesting to be in regards to my final project as children do not have the ability to give consent, so parents, and in some countries, law makers, are making rules on their behalf. An article on CBC this week spurred this direction for me as it explored the idea of children of the social media era having the right in the future to delete posts their parents made of them as children.
“…people should have the agency to decide what information is, and isn’t archived about them online.
And while that’s true of all individuals, it is especially so with children and teens, whose lives may have been extensively documented online by others, before they reach the age of consent.” (Pringle, 2018).
While I truly believe parents are trying to make the best decisions they can about the use of online sharing, our choices have lifelong repercussions for our children. The European Union has intervened with this idea and created legislation to allow individuals the right to request information on social media platforms or accessible via google search to be removed. I cannot find any legislation equal in Canadian law but if you know of a something, let me know!
(I just watched The Mindy Project final episode, bear with me)
What I find particularly interesting is that I, a millennial, remember when my grade 6 classroom had 5 computers installed. Every classroom received a few computers in my elementary school back in 2000. I remember being taught the correct way to type (..if they could see me now though!…) and how to use word processing programs. I remember having to set up an email account and practice emailing my classmates, making our first slideshow presentation. All important skills and ones I use at work and in grad school every day. But as who some might categorize a “digital native” or “digital resident“, I have never received digital or media literacy. Millennial are sometimes referred to as “the Facebook generation” yet I am sure I am not the only middle of the pack millennial who did not have digital literacy included in their education, K-12 or post secondary. Now, without attending graduate school, I don’t know where an adult will access this sort of education beyond choosing to read about it online. It is a privilege to be able to further my education into graduate school, but certainly not the norm. In my opinion, it seems like the generation who first had MySpace, Facebook, etc are also the generation to received little to no opportunities to exploring the implications of this social networking as our training and education as mostly on using tools.
So what does this mean for our children?
The world is still figuring out the long term effects of growing on with an online presence. Maybe it will be fine, every one of your friends also has photo after photo of them online too. But at the bare minimum, this should make parents take a moment to think. Many of us I am sure have a baby book filled with funny pictures and anecdotes, some cute, some embarrassing. But mine is somewhere in my parents house, likely only viewed by grandparents, aunts, and the odd friend nice enough to smile and nod as they look through it. HOw would I feel if that was online for anyone to find (we all know it’s easier to get deep into the Facebook world and see photos of people that have no idea we are viewing them!) My parents knew exactly who had seen what.
Am I going to post pictures of my babe online? For sure I am. I know that and hope not to sound snobbish on this topic. I look forward to sharing. But how much and how often? What sort of things are OK to share and what are for only close friends and family? I don’t know the answer yet and likely won’t even in 15 weeks when I meet this little person. Might as well get use to this feeling.
Pringle, R. (2018, January 31). Today’s kids will need right to remove online posts about them. CBC. Retrieved from http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/pringle-kids-social-media-1.4510168