Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
In an attempt to put an end to cyberbullying both during and after school hours, Illinois legislators recently passed a law that many parents believe is a breach of privacy.
Under the new law, school districts and universities are able to demand the password of a student’s social media account — especially “if school authorities have a reasonable cause to believe that a student’s account contains evidence that a student has violated a school’s disciplinary rule of policy, even if posted after school hours,” reports FOX News.
While this law’s intent is to send a strong, no-tolerance message about cyberbullying, some parents and students believe there are other, less intrusive solutions. For example, school authorities could obtain access to a social media account by having the student or parent sign into it for them.
According to BullyingStatistics.org, more than half of the nation’s teens have been a victim of cyberbullying, and about the same number have bullied someone else online. Because technology usage among children and teens is not slowing down, neither is cyberbullying. There are tips to stop cyberbullying, but the ongoing solution should involve a more collective effort between children, parents, and schools.
We want to know what you think! Do you think this law is an invasion of privacy? Do you think more states will follow Illinois’ lead? Let us know in the comments below.
Caitlin St John is an Editorial Assistant for Parents.com who splits her time between New York City and her hometown on Long Island. She’s a self-proclaimed foodie who loves dancing and anything to do with her baby nephew. Follow her on Twitter: @CAITYstjohn
Image: Social Media Apps via Shutterstock
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Thursday, December 13th, 2012
The Federal Trade Commission is investigating whether mobile apps marketed to children may violate kids’ rights to privacy, and may be misleading parents with confusing and inaccurate privacy policies. The FTC has already identified a number of companies that are engaging in the dubious practices, tracking children’s mobile behaviors without the consent of parents. The FTC is also poised to vote on a new set of rules that would limit such companies’ ability to track pre-teens on their mobile devices. The Washington Post has more:
“The agency and the Obama administration have pushed for stronger protections for children who are spending more time than ever online, thanks largely to the proliferation of smartphones and tablets in homes and schools.
While current law puts strict limits on advertising to children in print or on television, it provides fuzzier guidance on mobile technology, which can be far more invasive. Tech companies, for instance, can instantaneously locate a user, track a person’s social-media habits or keep a record of every Web site visited.
Those kinds of data, however sensitive to parents,have allowed companies to target ads and develop programs for children with a kind of precision that wasn’t available just a few years ago. The push by the government to update child privacy rules has faced resistance from Silicon Valley giants, including Facebook, Apple and Google, as well as the companies developing mobile apps. While they agree that children should be afforded special protections, they also argue some of the proposals would stifle a nascent and innovative industry.
Still, the FTC said it would launch “multiple” investigations into mobile apps companies that may have violated laws on deceptive practices or the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, a 1998 law that public interest groups say badly needs an update. The agency declined to identify the names or the number of companies that it would target in its probes.”
Image: Young girl texting, via Shutterstock
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Monday, October 1st, 2012
New rules designed to protect children online are the most comprehensive in more than a decade, regulators from the Federal Trade Commission are saying. The New York Times reports:
The moves come at a time when major corporations, app developers and data miners appear to be collecting information about the online activities of millions of young Internet users without their parents’ awareness, children’s advocates say. Some sites and apps have also collected details like children’s photographs or locations of mobile devices; the concern is that the information could be used to identify or locate individual children.
These data-gathering practices are legal. But the development has so alarmed officials at the Federal Trade Commission that the agency is moving to overhaul rules that many experts say have not kept pace with the explosive growth of the Web and innovations like mobile apps. New rules are expected within weeks.
“Today, almost every child has a computer in his pocket and it’s that much harder for parents to monitor what their kids are doing online, who they are interacting with, and what information they are sharing,” says Mary K. Engle, associate director of the advertising practices division at the F.T.C. “The concern is that a lot of this may be going on without anybody’s knowledge.”
The proposed changes could greatly increase the need for children’s sites to obtain parental permission for some practices that are now popular — like using cookies to track users’ activities around the Web over time. Marketers argue that the rule should not be changed so extensively, lest it cause companies to reduce their offerings for children.
Image: Child using computer, via Shutterstock
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