Children are being "datafied" from birth. What are the implications?

November 9, 2018 in

As the BBC reported, the children's commissioner for England has recently called for more attention to the consequences deriving from the collection of children data. Today's children are in fact being "datafied" from birth, but the consequences which this may trigger are usually quite disregarded. That's why the commissioner is calling on internet giants and toy-makers to be more transparent about the data they are collecting on children.

In its latest report, titled "Who Knows What about Me?", the children's commissioner warns about the potential risks connected to the gathering of children personal information and urges the government to strengthen data protection laws.

By quoting research led by Sonia Livingstone, the report estimates the following:

  • between the ages of 11 and 16, children post on social media 26 times a day, on average
  • by the time they reach adulthood, they are likely to have posted 70,000 times
  • by the age of 13, a child's parents will have posted on average 1,300 photos and videos of them to social media

According to Anne Longfield, the Children's Commissioner for England: "Companies that make apps, toys and other products used by children need to stop filling them with trackers and put their terms and conditions in language that children understand.

"And crucially the government needs to monitor the situation and refine data protection legislation if needed, so that children are genuinely protected - especially as technology develops."

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