Do you post pictures of your children to social media? An increasing number of parents do not. Tech Times‘ Aaron Mamiit writes that this rising trend “comes at a time when other parents, along with grandparents and other relatives, are intent on posting and documenting the early years of children on social media websites.”
While their reasons for avoiding social media vary, Mamiit explains, the primary concerns center on what you might expect. Most parents are worried about the safety and privacy of their children. Others are more concerned about the things companies could do with pictures and information about those kids. Specific reasons aren’t always needed. Many parents just feel uneasy with their kids on the Web.
“Facebook, for its part, encourages parents to use the site’s privacy setting if they want to limit who can see their baby photos and other posts,” writes the Associated Press. “… Some parents look back to their own childhoods, when they were able to make mistakes without evidence of those blunders living on – forever – online. … People have shared baby photos since the dawn of the camera, and stories about kids’ shenanigans long before that. Parents who decide to keep photos of their children and other data off social media say they still want to share those things, but they are bothered by the idea of online permanence.” Combine these concerns with third-party data breaches and the missteps sites like Facebook have made when it comes to privacy policies, and you have a formula for more and more parents to opt out of sharing anything about their kids online.
Ironically enough, the trend comes at a time when Google is considering offering Gmail and YouTube accounts to kids. Dave McGinn explains, “Currently, anyone under 13 [who is not prepared to lie] can’t officially open a YouTube or Gmail account. … The age requirement exists because of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a law that puts strict limits on how a child’s data can be collected, used and stored. But obviously there is significant growth potential for Google if it can target the pre-teen market. An unidentified person familiar with Google’s recent efforts told the Wall Street Journal that the company is developing versions of YouTube and Gmail that would let parents set up accounts for their children.”
McGinn points out that Google is eyeing the business all those preteens and tweens could supply. It’s a previously untapped market for obvious reasons and is potentially a vast stream of revenue. “[T]he move could also be motivated by a desire on Google’s part to reap profits from the education market,” McGinn continues, “with kid-specific apps making the company’s Chromebook laptop a potentially more appealing alternative to the iPad in schools.”
Jacob Davidson, in Money, puts a finer point on it. “Reports indicate Google is planning to roll out a suite of services specifically targeting young users,” he writes. “The company’s Chromebooks are low-cost laptops that might be attractive to schools, but the products are entirely based around Google services.” This app- and technology-specific “in” would put Google in the catbird seat where an increasingly tech-savvy industry. More than ever, school districts are encouraging and even requiring the use of laptops, tablets and other devices. Software licenses are replacing textbooks. The process has only just begun; it will continue and become more pervasive.
Interestingly, this drive to target your children (as a technology and software market) comes at a time when a new entitlement is being pushed: Internet access. “It’s back-to-school time,” writes Jenny Shank. “And while parents still need to load up on traditional school supplies such as pencils, notebooks and erasers, there’s a more expensive item that’s increasingly a necessity for students: Internet access. [emphasis added]”
You may recall the recent flap over turning off water service to families in Detroit who could not afford to pay their bills. At issue is whether access to water is a right – something to which you and I are entitled, without concomitant responsibilities (such as paying your bill to the utility company).
Increasingly, Internet access is being treated as a similar entitlement, a “right” without access to which your child cannot “thrive” in school. “Several companies and communities have provided inexpensive Internet access to low-income families. But when bills mount and are left unpaid, the service is often turned off, leaving low-income kids unconnected and falling behind their peers in technology,” concludes Shank.
This two-pronged push to get your kids online – commercially, in or out of education, and as a society-wide entitlement – is not coincidental. Your government and business know that in a market saturated with Internet access, networked devices and social media interconnectivity, the only way to expand the reach of a company or of governmental influence is to find and tap an untapped demographic. For obvious reasons, our children are this untapped market. But resistance to the “Interneting” of our children is already apparent in the form of those mothers and fathers who wish to shield their kids from social media and the often undesirable consequences of a life lived in the virtual public square. There are only two ways to overcome this resistance, and that is persuasion or mandate. If liberals can persuade you that Internet access is not merely technology, not simply a convenience, but a necessity and even a right, then plugging your kids into the Internet is no longer a choice or an expense, but an entitlement that cannot in good conscience be denied.
Liberals are forever redefining rights. They look at the Constitution and wish to erase protections it contains in favor of inserting “rights” to the efforts and property of others. In this way is a free people enslaved. The irrevocable entanglement of Internet technology with the very commercial business of teaching our children to read and compute (or taking tax dollars to fail to do so) is the next quarter-pound of pressure in the left’s stranglehold on popular culture. If the Internet becomes a “right,” your parental rights will be further eroded.
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