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A report by England’s children’s commissioner has raised concerns about how kids’ data is being collected and shared across the board, in both the private and public sectors.
In the report, entitled Who knows what about me?, Anne Longfield urges society to “stop and think” about what big data means for children’s lives.
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Big data practices could result in a data-disadvantaged generation whose life chances are shaped by their childhood data footprint, her report warns.
The long term impacts of profiling minors when these children become adults is simply not known, she writes.
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“Children are being “datafied” – not just via social media, but in many aspects of their lives,” says Longfield.
“For children growing up today, and the generations that follow them, the impact of profiling will be even greater – simply because there is more data available about them.”
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By the time a child is 13 their parents will have posted an average of 1,300 photos and videos of them on social media, according to the report. After which this data mountain “explodes” as children themselves start engaging on the platforms — posting to social media 26 times per day, on average, and amassing a total of nearly 70,000 posts by age 18.
“We need to stop and think about what this means for children’s lives now and how it may impact on their future lives as adults,” warns Longfield. “We simply do not know what the consequences of all this information about our children will be. In the light of this uncertainty, should we be happy to continue forever collecting and sharing children’s data?
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“Children and parents need to be much more aware of what they share and consider the consequences. Companies that make apps, toys and other products used by children need to stop filling them with trackers, and put their terms and conditions...
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