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How to Protect Your Child’s Data Privacy

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What Is Data Privacy?

Data privacy refers to the protection of personal information and data from others accessing, using, or sharing it with your permission. It includes the rights of individuals to control how their data is collected, processed, and shared by organizations or online platforms. In the context of kids’ online safety, data privacy is crucial to safeguarding children from potential risks, like identity theft, cyberbullying, and exploitation.

What to Look Out For

Children’s data privacy concerns have gained significant attention in the digital age, as the online landscape becomes an integral part of their lives from an early age. With the increasing use of apps, social media, and online games, children’s personal information is being collected, shared, and potentially misused in ways that demand careful consideration.

Data Harvesting

Data harvesting is the tracking and collection of children’s online activities, which can lead to the creation of detailed profiles that include preferences, behaviors, and interests. This data can then be used for targeted advertising, potentially shaping children’s choices and preferences from a young age.

Lack of Parental Consent

Children’s data, often collected without appropriate consent from parents, might find its way into the hands of third parties without the knowledge or approval of responsible adults. This raises ethical concerns about transparency and control over children’s data. Furthermore, data breaches pose a severe threat to children’s privacy, potentially exposing their personal information to malicious actors and leading to identity theft or other harmful consequences, including being exposed to sexual predators.

Inappropriate Content

Children can inadvertently access material that is not suitable for their age. Algorithms that fuel content recommendations on platforms don’t always filter out explicit or harmful content.

Best Practices for Parents

Limit Personal Information Sharing

Teach your children not to share sensitive personal information online, such as full names, addresses, phone numbers, birthdates, or where they go to school, as well as about the risks associated with sharing such information. Implementing these practices will look different on each platform.Take the time to explain how to best limit personal information sharing for each site that your child uses.

Understand Privacy Policies

Review the privacy policies of websites and apps your children use. Look for clear explanations of how the sites and apps collect, use, and share data. Only allow your children to use platforms that prioritize user privacy and are transparent about how they collect and store data.

Use Parental Controls

Enable parental control features on devices, apps, and web browsers. These controls can help you monitor your child’s online activities and limit access to inappropriate content or apps. Such controls will also allow you to keep track of the types of information your children are sharing online.

Secure Devices and Accounts

Set up strong passwords or passcodes for all devices your child uses. Ensure that the accounts have two-factor authentication enabled, whenever possible, to add an extra layer of security. Teach your children about the importance of using strong passwords for their online accounts and inform them of the risks associated with weak passwords.

Avoid Public Wi-Fi

Encourage your child to avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, since they can be insecure and prone to data breaches. Teach your children to only use trusted and secure Wi-Fi networks such as their home or school Wi-Fi networks.

Lead by Example

Model good online behavior. Your digital actions and habits will significantly impact your child’s understanding of data privacy and responsible Internet use. To educate your children with the best knowledge, implement the best practices in your own digital engagement.

For More on Data Privacy

Go to the Data Privacy Archive →

Sources and Additional Reading