Leave Me Alone: Protecting Children’s Privacy in the Digital Age
Hild, Katherine A.
Although considerable research exists on the social norms and habits of teenagers in online spaces, information about parental knowledge regarding data privacy protection is limited. While the privacy challenges of social media platforms or commercial advertisers are clear to many parents, the growing popularity of non-traditional connected devices, often referred to as the “Internet of Things,” presents additional challenges in the form of toys and household objects that now collect data from their children. Through a series of semi-structured interviews with parents of children ages 5-17, this thesis examines how parents understand data privacy, as well as how their understanding subsequently influences the behavior expectations and device usage policies they set for their children. Topics discussed with parents include their familiarity with: state and federal privacy legislation aimed at minors, such as COPPA or FERPA; data-tracking technology like cookies; data privacy protection functions available on mobile devices; privacy tools such as ad-blocking extensions; and high-order privacy threats like hacking or doxxing.
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