The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just published new survey results finding that 74% of smartphone owners — that’s three-quarters — appear to be using location services on their phones.
This statistic is double what it was when Pew conducted a similar survey in May 2011. The increase in location services occurs despite privacy concerns about tracking and data collection. Check out the report to look at the data by age, gender, and ethnic group, depicted in a range of charts and graphs.
I am still minimizing or turning off the number of location services that I use on my phone. While some of us use more location services than others on our smartphones, it’s critical for parents to know how location services work and how to limit access on the phones that their children around each day. Many apps ask to turn on location services during the installation process.
Each adult needs to figure out how much privacy is necessary or desired in his or her digital life and also in the digital lives of children. People seeking one right answer won’t find it, however, it’s best to take the time to understand the devices that family members carry and apps that they use.
A tech-savvy middle school parent sent me the link to the video at the end of this post. She added a comment: “This is scary. Should I let it upset me?” As of mid-April 2011, according to YouTube, the video has been viewed nearly 2.8 million times
There is nothing quite like the queasy feeling a parent gets when a media outlet airs a story with shrill content that aims to frighten and questions the safety of their children. In this case, the report included a solution at the end of the news segment, but by then many viewers were probably too upset to focus. YouTube makes it all so easy, and we can view the segment again and again and then pass it on to others. If each of us had more media literacy skill, we’d hit the stop button, move on to something else, and not even think about forwarding it to our friends.
Specifically, this video addresses two concepts: geotagging and location serviceson smartphones. Setting aside the anxiety about the information revealed by digital pictures, the video highlights a critical digital-age dilemma for parents: how to develop basic knowledge about the digital devices that they purchase for their children. Location service happens to be the current concern, but by the time the next round of must-have gadgets arrives on the scene, another issue will emerge. Knowledge is power.