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New Survey Shows We All Need To Sharpen Up About Privacy Risks For Kids

Concern about social media use was one of the three themes raised by experts and agencies working directly with children.

The three key themes were:

- Social media is a major concern, and a combination of guidance and regulatory changes are needed to manage this risk to children’s privacy.

- More guidance is needed to help professionals, parents and children better understand privacy risks.

- Some regulatory changes could better protect children’s privacy, including changing the Privacy Act to include a right to be forgotten, introducing a requirement to consider the best interests of the child, or creating a code of practice.

Privacy Commissioner Michael Webster said the sorts of concerns raised in the survey were well summed up by one respondent, "Young people don’t have the capacity to make fully informed decisions about their digital footprint and the long-lasting implications of having an online presence."

Mr Webster says, "Privacy concerns like children sharing personal information and details that can be used to bully or blackmail them are well known."

"But there are other risks too like children sharing their own or others personal and financial details, including credit card details, home address, phone and email contact information."

"Geolocation is a good example of a lesser-known privacy risk. Many apps and games use this feature, which can be used track the location of the child. However, it’s something that can be easily managed by having the right privacy settings on a device."

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The privacy risks parents had as children aren’t the same issues children face now.

"Sometimes, adults share images and content featuring their children on social media, but children also have their own lives, and they might not want that content shared. If possible, it’s good to involve children in discussions about the pros and cons of sharing content," says Mr Webster.

The nature of social media means it’s hard to keep things restricted even in private groups. A good question to ask is can you guarantee that this content will stay private?

"Children and young people’s privacy is a priority area for my office. Children are more vulnerable to privacy harms, and so they require additional care to ensure that their privacy is protected."

Other survey findings included:

- Parents need guidance to understand how they can protect their child’s privacy rights, including what they can expect from agencies collecting their child’s information

- Help is needed to educate tamariki/children from a young age about privacy harms

- Organisations should tell people about how their information is used

- There needs to be higher penalties for organisations who breach a child’s privacy

- The need for an information campaign to educate parents on the risks of posting images of their tamariki/children on social media.

Findings from the survey will help finalise the next steps for protecting children’s privacy, including helping determine whether our current regulatory framework adequately supports children and young people’s privacy rights, or whether new or expanded regulatory responses are required.

A summary of the findings can be found on our website

© Scoop Media

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