In a recent TEDx presentation, the Canadian blogger and science fiction author, Cory Doctorow, proposes a new type of “network education” for kids online. His views stand in contrast to those suggesting that filtering internet content in an effort to keep kids safe is the way to go. Rather, he argues that filtering content prevents kids from understanding networks and privacy tools on their own – kind of like how feeding ducks in a pond leaves them unprepared to fend for themselves come winter.
Instead, here’s how Doctorow envisions privacy education for kids:
- Turn to libraries, schools and other institutions to be “islands of networked privacy best practices”
- Teach kids to encrypt everything they do on the internet
- Teach them to jailbreak every device that they handle
- Teach kids to choose the best products for their privacy
- Teach them to bust every sensor wall that harvests a record of what they look at
- Teach them to spoof every form they’re asked to fill in
- Block the RFID tags they carry around with them
- Figure out how to move through their cities and towns without their locations being recorded by CCTV cameras
Who should be responsible – parents or teachers – for teaching kids about their digital footprints and how should it be done, are important questions. Perhaps, now it’s not a question of who should be responsible but who is willing to take responsibility.