To protect a child’s digital ID?

Posted on June 10, 2012


One of my first posts in this blog got quite a reaction (Kids aren’t living in a digital world – not wholly, not yet anyway). Some assumed I was against children using technology, such as an iPad. My point was more about balance, about allowing for analogue as well as digital play.

Now here’s another quandary.

Two pieces of content were the catalyst for this post. They both relate to info about children on social networks, rather than their use of hardware or software.

One is perhaps the best thing I’ve ever seen on YouTube (see below). The other was by GigaOm journalist Derrick Harris (Why I’ll let my daughter shape her own digital identity). I saw each only in the last few days.

In Hide and Seek Toddler POV – as I write this it’s close to 400,000 views in the week it’s been live – a father puts a headcam on his two-year-old little girl as they play together. As a result we get to see a small child’s point of view as she looks for him around their flat – it’s three minutes of laughing, crying, surprises and the kind of thing most of us only remember as a grown-up. It’s brilliant.

But then consider Harris’ piece. In his world, perhaps this YouTube video would have been kept private, shared across family and close friends. You or I wouldn’t be one of 400,000 talking about it.

His reasoning is all about his daughter, when older, looking back and seeing what a parent or anyone else did with her identity.

What do you think? Should we be more protective with photos/videos/colouring books (?) of our kids? I know some friends who are. But I also know some of them share on Facebook because they make it a controlled environment. (Admittedly some people are clueless about locking down accounts.)

Or should we be relaxed about sharing?

If we don’t take and share pictures or videos of our kids then others will, you could argue. It’s not like it’s illegal (there’s a post for another time) and even if you think it’s not right, others might not be equally inclined to ask your permission. In other cases (public, school events etc.) our children, like the rest of us, are already uploaded to one service or another, so many bytes in datacentres dotted around the world.

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Posted in: Family, Technology