Explain to kids that they can safeguard their privacy
Make sure social network privacy settings are set to the most restricted levels
Explain to kids that what they post is never as private as they think
Encourage kids to self-reflect before they self-reveal
No geo-location applications are age-appropriate for kids and teens
Make sure kids know to respect other people's privacy
Our kids live in a culture of sharing that has forever changed the concept of privacy. In a world where everyone is connected and anything created can get copied, pasted, and sent to thousands of people in a heartbeat, privacy starts to mean something different than simply guarding personal or private information. Each time your child fills out a profile without privacy controls, comments on something, posts a video, or texts a picture of themselves to friends, they potentially reveal themselves to the world.
Digital life is very public and often permanent. If our kids don't protect their privacy, what they do online will create digital footprints that wander and persist. Something that happens on the spur of the moment -- a funny picture, a certain post -- can resurface years later. And if kids aren't careful, their reputations can get away from them and third parties -- like marketers or potential employers -- can access what kids thought was private information.
Your kids may think they just sent something to a friend -- but that friend can send it to a friend’s friend, who can send it to their friends’ friends, and so on. That’s how secrets become headlines and how false information spreads fast and furiously. The stakes only rise when we remember that everything takes place in front of huge invisible audiences. Kids’ deepest secrets can be shared with thousands of people they’ve never even met.
New technologies make controlling privacy more challenging. With GPS-enable cell phones and location-sharing programs, kids can post their whereabouts. This information can go out to friends, strangers, and companies who will show them ads targeted to their location.
Download our Privacy Tip Sheet in Spanish.