After half the class says "but my parents tell me to just lie about my age so I can use free stuff online" I end up having to have a whole conversation with the class about COPPA, and more to the point, the question "Is it OK to misrepresent yourself to someone else in order to get them to give you something they otherwise would not" and the slippery slope of little white lies, and when is it OK to lie. It's a good conversation but always eye opening to see what is taught at home. Of course many of these 10 - 12 year olds are also playing GTA V and other MA games with their parents' permission.
If they we're all just innocent checks to see if they should be offered a product or not I could see your argument. Companies however, have weaponized personal data and once given away it can't come back. They should be adding noise to any data they have to give up just to help mask themselves in the digital world.
When a child fills out a form with a fake, older, age it increasesthe amount of data that canbe collected about that child.
So little Alice, age 12, born in July, becomes little Bobby, age 11, born in October.
They also need to learn not to trust everything they hear.
The whole tech industry data-harvest has been done dishonestly and is the most massive bait and switch since forever. The con is on and we didn't know about it at first. You did? Really? Well you were in the 0.00001% who understood it.
The thing is the muppets who make regulatory decisions can't find the on switch on a computer so the "just don't" is complete nonsense. Everything from your social life to your salary takes a huge hit because everyone else made a decision for you. You've been held hostage like it or not. Avoided gmail? Nope, they've got basically your entire inbox through your counterparties. Avoid facebook? Nope, they've got a shadow profile from everyone uploading their address books. And they've convinced everyone that non-facebook users don't need invitations to stuff. Avoid linkedin, avoid job opportunies because recruiters have decided for you that this is what they'll use? Just don't? Yeah, right.
Treating these data harvesting sites with withering contempt until they prove themselves honest is actually the correct and proper thing to do. ESPECIALLY tell children to lie and lie and lie becuase any information these vermin get on children could follow them around for the rest of their lives and have affects we don't yet understand. "But we wouldn't let them, there would be laws passed against it." Maybe, but extrapolating from what we've seen so far it seems very, very unlikely. New regulations have until now have just about universally been conceived in idiocy, protected incumbents, punished new-entrants and provided nothing of value to consumers.
Telling children that they should not trust big tech firms is not just right, it's our duty. We do understand just how untrustworthy these firms are now, let alone how you're trusting all future possible owners and employees any number of years hence. It's insane to even think about trusting them any time you can simply avoid it.
There's a lot of kids leaving a huge amount of information about them online because of the internet storing almost everything they do. They link every account or every detail to themselves in real life, making it easy for people and companies to gather a ton of free data. Some of which might be dangerous to their future careers.
Socializing with your peers is as natural as sex. We grew up where online communication was either non-existent or niche enough that we don't feel it's necessary for socialization. But teenagers today have been exposed to the internet since birth. To them not participating in social networks is as absurd as being constantly online is uncomfortable to the older generation. Or it's like telling a teenager to ignore their sexual desire. It's not going to happen.
So teaching kids how to be safe online while still participating is the practical thing to do. And it's important to give them tools and knowledge that makes it possible for them succeed in protecting themselves.
When I think about it that way, I question my own standing in the privacy debate. I often point out how older people seem out-of-touch with how technology works. Well I don't participate in a lot of social platforms. Why should I be listened to about what is appropriate for those companies? I can say what I want for myself, but that isn't necessarily helpful for people who have a different lifestyle than I do. Does being too severe an advocate for privacy, and demonizing social media companies make me like to the old church lady saying that giving out condoms in school is evil?
The easiest way to explain to them how to properly be safe online is to ask them 'what would your parents or teachers find if they looked up your username? if they started googling details about you?'. They may not care what their friends might find, but when you rope in family and teachers finding more personal details that is a great way to get them more invested in maintaining their privacy.
Simple Demographics Often Identify People Uniquely
But I wonder how long - with state-of-the-art aggregation and correlation techniques - lying will be an effective strategy. You can say you are Peter, but if you at the same time accidentally and regularly give your position away from an address that only has an Anna living there (together with other Anna-specific data) you will be found out soon enough. And you also run the risk of an algorithm marking you as unreliable or prone to lying (and other misunderstandings about you).
1 January 2008, for example.
Now it just serves as signalling to outsiders by those vested in the system to pretend they are not responsible and somehow equally shocked. That also explains why inspite of so much 'hand wringing' and 'concern' Google, Facebook and others continue to enjoy respectability in tech circles with no shortage of people eager to work for them.
But here is the problem, we expect even the poor and desperate to behave ethically, for highly educated privileged individuals to behave unethically means there is now no basis for expecting any ethical behavior from others in society and you create the conditions for your children and others to live in damaging environments.
Besides, all games are designed to be addictive. That’s what games are. They provide a fast feedback loop of small successes
If you think addictive games are bad, then we can go ahead and cast a moral judgement ib parents too. Parents know that games are addictive. Why are they letting their own kids play addictive games?
As far as engineers go, it is possible that they did made the game addictive specifically for <13 years old. It just happens that parents of <13 year olds let their kids play, and they are getting addicted.
> “These sophisticated tech companies are not policing themselves,” the New Mexico attorney general, Hector Balderas, said. “The children of this country ultimately pay the price.”
> “This is as much a black eye on the federal government as the tech space,” Mr. Balderas said. “I’m trying to get lawmakers at the federal level to wake up.”
This is like going after drug dealers for parking violations and calling a press conference to proudly brag about it. Game publishers are doing much worse stuff and you're making a big deal about going after them for tracking!?
To not even mention in passing loot boxes, really NYT? one of the most pervasive unethical rackets in modern tech targeting children, much worse than tracking because it causes real harm to individuals.
FTC: Feel free to exploit young underdeveloped brains to addict them to gambling for profit as long as you're not tracking them.
I also wish that the NYT and other outlets were more interested in covering the worse stuff you mentioned, but in no way is their covering of this other bad stuff anything less than a positive development.
Games are designed to keep you interested and engaged-- that's just what a game is. Children's games have included gambling since toys have existed (dreidel, jacks, marbles, to name a few). Children learn about the real world through play, and gambling is a part of that. Risks give benefits or consequences that are often unpredictable. I don't see the explicit benefit of excluding these gambles from children's games.
You're not wrong, can also point to baseball cards, magic the gathering or pokemon cards. The key differences today are
1) Instant-availability of the secondary market and third party sites that allow you to gamble with virtual currency you've won.
2) Devs/Publishers hiring psychologists and cognitive behavior specialists to design these loot box experiences to release the perfect amount of dopamine to get users addicted, with frightening efficiency. In comparison your examples are extremely mild.
You could say it's the parents responsibility to educate and protect their children from these practices - but would you say the same about the tobacco industry advertising to children? For me this is the same addiction from profit motive the tobacco industry exploited for many years until they were rightfully regulated.
Honestly, I think this happens in children's television programming more than in electronic games, and I can actually find sources for this if given an hour or two (I used to be very interested in the developments that took place towards psychology around the 60's). If you can provide sources for your claim I'd be more inclined to discuss this seriously, but as it stands it seems unlikely that a small, 5-employee company pushing racing games for children would hire psychologists and CB specialists to advise their games. I am not specifically talking about the example used in the article, but most such games are released by very small companies and independent devs. I think they rely on heuristics and statistics to tell them which games work and why, for sure, but that's just good design.
First page results from a quick google search, who's talking bullshit
New York? What?
Without this - nothing will change. Benefits of abusing children and stealing user's private information to resell to advertisers far outweigh the penalties.
(I noticed this when the CEO's name was obviously from there, as two of my grandparents were also from there.)
Not a physical abuse but comes as close second.