Can We Stop Confusing Kids’ Privacy with Transparency?

Our digital society hasn’t figured out what to do about privacy. More importantly, it hasn’t figured what to do about the privacy of our kids — we keep confusing privacy with transparency.

It’s problematic enough that adults are diving willy-nilly into the digital world, sharing everything about themselves, private and not so private, but it’s even worse to observe a world where everything a child does and almost every mistake he or she makes is now public. These days we are giving children and adolescents no cover and no protection as they blithely explore the digital world while making what in any other era would be common and developmentally appropriate errors.

Lest I sound like a digital Luddite, I’m not. I love participating in the activities of my digital world, actively but moderately, and I have an arsenal of digital gadgets in my purse, book bag, and lying around my house. As an educator, however, I am keenly aware of how much we are forgetting to nurture and honor kids’ developmental stages as they grow up in this digitally dense world. Part of solving that problem involves ensuring that children have a guaranteed amount of privacy.

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