Law in the Internet Society

How to protect my child from the harms of the internet

-- By EungyungEileenChoi - 05 Dec 2019

My daughter's Christmas list

Having put all the playfulness of Halloween and the hassle with the big bird on Thanksgiving behind me, there's still the biggest (at least for my 8-year-old daughter) piece left - Christmas! For the last few years, the one and only item on my bigger daughter's wishlist was a smartphone. What mom would not want to see the big bright smile on her child's face when she unwrapps the gift and discovers that it is exactly what she prayed for. Unfortunately (or fortunately?), I was a lawyer practicing in the area of personal information protection and I just couldn't bring it over my conscience to buy my own daughter a device that would make it possible for others to collect her personal data on a real-time basis and most likely transfer them to the rest of the world. This year, after letting her down for three years, she finally gave it up and switched to Fitbit. Sadly enough, a fitness tracker is just as unacceptable to me for similar reasons and Santa will have to ignore her wishes once again.

But why?

While it is only natural for me to withhold any mobile device from my daughter as long as I can, it seems like a 'mission impossible' to make her understand why.

First, it is hard to explain the potential harmfulness of the internet in a way that it feels like a real danger to her. [ ]

Second, there are just too many children with mobile phones out there. We moved from South Korea where most Kindergartners already had a watch called "kid's phone" featuring instant messaging on side of phone call services and rather simple games. When my daughter entered school, roughly half of her classmates possessed a smartphone. The rate of children carrying around a "smart" watch or phone kept going up as my daughter advanced to the next grade until my daughter was the only one in her class and one of only a few in the whole school without a phone. I see a little bit less of that here in New York but still, there are enough friends in the classroom for my daughter to question how so many kids actually carry around these dangerous things and nothing ever happens to them. Yes, there might be a risk but it's a hypothetical one that only seldom realizes into something real.

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A GOOD mom

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Webs Webs

r2 - 06 Dec 2019 - 04:00:50 - EungyungEileenChoi
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