Much of what a child or teen does online gets added to a digital profile. Even when information is not supposed to be collected, it accumulates – somewhere. Moreover, when a child or adolescent acts impulsively or thoughtlessly online, no way exists to erase or delete a digital mistake. Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet and Society posts a great digital dossier video that parents and educators may want to use as a conversation tool.
Boston Globe reporter Bobby Caina Calvan provides a comprehensive overview of the current state of privacy laws (not great because they predate social media), tracking (lots of data accumulates on kids and teens), Facebook’s influence (huge), industry views (self-regulation works) and possible solutions, one of which is a bipartisan legislative proposal, H.R. 1895, introduced by Representatives Ed Markey (D-MA) and Joe Barton (R-TX). The two congressmen jointly co-chair the Congressional Bipartisan Privacy Caucus, and both share a concern for protecting children and teens.
At the Library of Congress you can check out the Do Not Track Kids Act, including the actual United States Congress bill, a summary, it’s status, cosponsors, and other information about the Do Not Track Kids Act.
One novel idea is an easy-to-use, child-friendly eraser button that allows children and their families to completely get rid of digital mistakes and impulsive missives — digital communication that should not have occurred in the first place.
Good Quote About an Easy Eraser Button
Such a button is “based on the right to be forgotten,” said Markey. “Youthful indiscretions can be erased or overcome in the offline word — it’s forgive and forget — but in the online world these missteps may never be forgotten.”