Posted in digital parenting, family conversations, parent education, parents and technology, privacy

Think Before Taking Online Quizzes and Surveys

I have a big problem with online web surveys and quizzes aimed at kids. Many are tricky digital techniques using old-fashioned fun and emulating magazine quiz features of the past, but with a contemporary cyber-twist that encourages today’s web users — and many, many children — to happily divulge all sorts of personal information.

When you encounter a quiz or survey on a website, it’s a good time to chat with children about privacy and the methods that websites use to collect personal information. Remind them that no kid-friendly erasers are currently available to whisk things away once children provide information.

You may also want to visit the I Look Both Ways blog, where Linda Criddle has posted Online Quizzes and Surveys and the Real Risks These Represent. Linda’s post offers a comprehensive overview of the subject along with supplemental images.

Here’s a short excerpt — applicable for home and at school — from my November 2011 post at the Teaching Tolerance blog.

Part of our job, then, is to help students understand how little privacy they have in their lives, especially true online when it feels like no one is watching. We must teach children and adolescents to make judgment calls.

If your online experience is even a bit similar to mine, you may also need to have the same conversation with your quiz-taking friends. Almost every day, via e-mail, Facebook, or some other social media activity, I receive notices from acquaintances encouraging me to take the surveys that they have just finished. My answer is always “No thanks!”

The Privacy Rights Clearinghouse is another a good place to learn more about personal privacy in the digital world.

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