This Mother’s Day, give yourself & your child the gift of data privacy
The combination of moms and the internet never fails to provide entertaining moments. Like the time Apple Martin told her mom Gwenith Paltrow off for posting a picture of her without asking, or when Emma Roberts’ mom accidentally shared the news of her daughter’s pregnancy with the world. But even non-celeb moms, das, and kids have a habit of impacting each other’s online presence without setting the proper boundaries.
Mother’s Day is just the right time to highlight this issue, as moms worldwide share their special day and what being a mom means to them, along with photos and information on their families.
Parents are targeted by businesses for data purposes because they are a vulnerable group. They’re also an incredibly lucrative audience, with millennial parents’ spending estimated at $1.3 trillion. The Children’s Commissioner discusses the danger of retail loyalty schemes, in which supermarkets encourage customers to sign up for a loyalty card. They fill in the baby’s due date and receive vouchers tailored for the kid’s age group. When the child gets older, the benefits stop, but the business still uses the information provided by parents.
Companies may find it easier to collect information from parents. New moms (and dads) have a lot to learn and worry about, and many turn to online forums and networks for advice and assistance. This is a wonderful tool that solves many stressful moments, but it can also release too much information into the virtual universe.
In addition to advice, young parents use online communities to connect during lonely times. Being a new parent is hard, and new moms often use social media as a primary communication channel during maternity leave. Researchers found that the hunt for social media validation often increases their feelings of stress, but the need for support and connection still leads the way.
When seeking help and reassurance, parents don’t just share cute pictures and funny anecdotes. They sometimes also post sensitive information regarding their kids’ health, growth, problems, and habits. Some of this information can be used to commit online fraud against parents or their kids as years go by. According to Barclays, by 2030, the information made public by parents will fuel two-thirds of identity theft incidents against young people.
Long after the services, they signed up for become irrelevant (assuming they ever were), parents will most likely forget to remove data from online sources. They’re busy juggling the complicated task that is parenting, and who has time to unsubscribe and delete accounts you don’t even remember creating?
Moms (and dads) care & share
Nicknamed “sharenting,” the habit of making our kids’ lives public comes with the purest of intentions. It’s most likely the result of seeing our kids as a direct extension of ourselves, but from a data-privacy perspective, this could be a problem.
A report by the UK Children’s Commissioner shows that parents to kids under 13 share more than 70 images and nearly 30 videos of their child on social media networks annually, sometimes with complete strangers. Kids’ privacy might also be at risk when using connected toys, monitors, and cameras which are meant to protect kids’ safety but can sometimes expose their data unknowingly.
While there are several laws protecting kids’ privacy online and general, it all starts with educating ourselves to stay informed, alert, and protected. Parents want what’s best for their kids. The same way we learn how to become better parents by studying food ingredients and screen-time recommendations, we should also dedicate resources to protecting our kids’ data by informing ourselves properly.
Who’s the data boss?
Data problems related to children and parents typically follow similar behavioral patterns. The first includes parents who manage their young kids’ online presence and have total control over their digital entities. If they’re not careful or aware enough, kids have very little data ownership to prevent future and current problems.
In other cases, kids themselves expand the family’s data footprint because they lack the necessary awareness to manage it correctly. The same way children spend thousands of dollars on in-app purchases, they also sign up for online services using their parents’ devices without proper vetting. In doing so, they risk their own privacy as well as their family members’. The result can be one big data mess without you knowing it.
The internet is a great source of information and support that can provide parents and children with great value. Families should be able to enjoy the good things the internet has to offer. Instead of steering away from online services, we must educate ourselves on the importance of data protection and easy data management solutions.
If this article struck a chord with you, please know that you don’t need to invest plenty of time in managing your kid’s data or your own. Mine enables parents (and all other consumers) to keep track of their data and regain control by allowing you to easily remove your data from unwanted services. This Mother's Day, you can make life easier for the mothers, fathers, and others in your life by introducing our time-saving, data-protecting technology.