In the article, “Millennials will Make Online Sharing in Networks a Lifelong Habit”, authors Anderson and Rainie (2010) explain that digital natives will continue to disclose a great deal of personal information on the Internet in order to take advantage of social, political, and economic opportunities.  As the mother of an eleven year old very social digital native, I wonder about this disclosure.  Privacy concerns are real.

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Here’s what the Federal Bureau of Investigation has to say:

C. Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)

The FBI is especially concerned about protecting children’s privacy. We hope parents and teachers are involved in children’s Internet explorations. It is particularly important for parents to guide their children when children are asked to provide personal information online. The FBI’s Fun and Games Page does not require children to reveal any information that could personally identify them. If a child chooses to provide personally identifying information to us through e-mail or otherwise, it will only be used to enable us to respond and will not be retained.

My question is how am I really supposed to be involved.  Teens and pre-teens are like to spend time privately on computers.  It’s hard to know what exactly they are doing.  A few years ago when my daughter was in middle school, I made her remove all the adults (many of them mine) from her Facebook account.  I’ve asked my eleven year old son to do the same with Instagram.  However, I feel as though I don’t really have much control in my locus of control as a parent.  I guess it’s time for more communication with my son and to make sure he understands the concerns of disclosing personal information on the Internet.  However, as much as i might try, I’m not sure my warnings will do much for this Millennial as he lives in the ever changing world of the information age.  It’s not just information that he seeks, but also information he gives – about himself.  Scary!

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