Today, Safer Internet Day is being celebrated in over 100 countries and on every continent. Given the recent political upheavals in the US and in Europe, this is a particularly good time to remind ourselves and our children about the need to practice good digital citizenship online. To be an upstander and not a bystander if you see bullying or harassing messages or videos. To report rather than spread abusive, inappropriate or illegal images. And, for us adults, to be good digital role models in spite of the way some of our political leaders behave online.
Messaging apps have become hugely popular. In fact, the total active users each month on messaging platforms now exceeds the number of active users on social media. The shift of online time towards messaging apps together with increased saturation of mobile app stores has helped to drive the rise of a new technology - ChatBots.
With the pressure to keep up appearances, some Instagram users have started creating secondary accounts that they call their “Finstagrams”, or Fake Instagrams. But these accounts are anything but fake. Here, teenagers will post unflattering pictures of themselves, photos of a messy bedroom or bad grade they’ve received, and everything in between.
For most parents, they are overwhelmed with all these new apps, livestreaming, sites and technology that seem to have no boundaries - and definitely never ending. It's time for parents to jump on board - there may never be a day you will master every app or how to Snap or Tweet or even Facebook Live, however you must be a parent that is interested in learning about all of it. Why? Because your kids are!
It is worth taking a step back and looking at the various forms of reality that are being artificially created and the implications that each of the approaches may have. And, as important, what impact these new devices and “realities” could have on how we (and our kids) interact with both the online world and the “real” world.
On December 1st, FOSI and the Future of Privacy Forum released a white paper on " Kids and the Connected Home: Privacy in the Age of Connected Dolls, Talking Dinosaurs, and Battling Robots." The paper explores the landscape of connected toys including how toys connect to platforms and servers and the variety of types of connected toys.
Eight prompts to bring perspective and purpose to our beliefs around tech. We can revisit this process as our families grow and change – as well as the technology.
With the proliferation of the internet – including the rise of the Internet of Things, connected toys, machine learning, virtual reality and more – parents need to take responsibility and protect their children from online threats. There are some common sense and simple steps that household leaders may take to immediately gain more visibility and control over their families’ online activity.
Today, we confront a myriad of new safety issues, concerns, risks and harms, while also benefiting from the wonders that technology can and does bring into our and our children’s lives. Our original worries focused on content, but now the online safety community, as well as parents, teachers and caregivers, are just as concerned about behavioral, emotional and developmental side effects of our hearty embrace of all things digital.