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Kids Don't Know Anywhere Enough About Their Digital Rights

drkateroberts.com
None of us read the terms and conditions really, do we? They're so long, and so dull, and none of the information on there is vitally important, so we just blindly agree and move on. While we're doing that though, we know full well that if we actually took the time to read them over, we would understand them. We are placing our trust in the company in question and knowingly agreeing to their terms while only having a vague idea what they are.

Children can't do that, because even if they did read the T&Cs, they likely as anything wouldn't understand what they mean. A terms page doesn't have any kind of child-lock, it can't prevent kids from accessing something until their parents have read and approved it. Online, kids are pretty much on their own with this kind of thing, and that, in its own way, is dangerous.

According to a study by the Growing Up Taskforce, an arm of the English children's commission, almost 50% of 8 to 11-year-olds have agreed to terms and conditions which they would have no way of understanding, particularly on platforms like Facebook and Instagram. These agreements effectively allow the platform in question to control any information they put online freely.

This basically means that thousands, if not millions of children across the UK and elsewhere have almost completely waived their privacy and allowed giants like Facebook a total claim on anything they post. During the study, someone rewrote Instagram's mammoth 17 page T&C list into a more succinct, child friendly version, and it contained the line -“[Instagram] is allowed to use any pictures you post and let others use them as well, anywhere around the world. Other people might pay us to use them and we will not pay you for that”.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, several of the kids in the study then said that they would consider deleting Instagram as a result of this. One 13-year-old girl even said “They write like this so you can’t understand it, because then you might think differently,”. Leave it to a 13-year-old to perfectly sum up the issue.

Newspeak isn't exactly new, as that reference should illustrate, but there's a very big difference between writing something so dense that people will be too bored and lazy to read it, and writing something which a pretty big contingent of the market straight up won't understand.

Education seems to be the most effective approach, and accordingly the UK government is investing £4.5 in computer eduction, which will extend to 'e-safety'.




Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @Songbird_Callum

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Kids Don't Know Anywhere Enough About Their Digital Rights Reviewed by Callum Davies on Monday, January 09, 2017 Rating: 5

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