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How to Navigate Kids’ Digital Privacy

What to know about the security of connected devices, and how to steer kids toward the best digital practices.

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Protecting kids’ digital privacy has gotten more challenging every year—and that was before 2020 introduced families to virtual schooling, digital homework, and Zoom playdates. Connectivity is seeping into every part of children’s lives, from the toys that now come with built-in Bluetooth or WiFi connections to the smart devices they encounter at home.

For help navigating the rapidly changing landscape, we called on our colleagues at the Mozilla Foundation, who have researched dozens of connected devices for their annual buyer’s guide, Privacy Not Included. It helps you shop for the safest, more secure connected products, from smart speakers and wireless headphones to fitness trackers and kids’ tablets.

They’ve curated a collection of articles that explores some of the most pressing digital privacy issues kids face and helps parents understand how to set them up for self-guided success. The Mozilla Foundation’s Jen Caltrider, who led the charge on this year’s guide—right down to testing the lion’s share of the devices—explains:

“Kids overshare. It’s part of their charm. And as parents know, teaching kids when not to overshare is an important life skill. In our connected world, teaching children that oversharing online has consequences, just like in the real world, is a good thing. It’s a lesson most kids will likely really appreciate as they get older.”

And while it can feel like an uphill battle, it’s comforting to remember that the best course of action is to control our own behavior.

“Kids learn by watching adults. What does it tell our kids when we teach them from a young age that it’s OK everything they do, every click they make online can be tracked, monitored, and potentially used to target them. It’s not just creepy, it’s potentially dangerous. Let’s teach our kids privacy, both online and off, is power.”

Mozilla Foundation

The Mozilla Foundation works to ensure the internet remains a public resource that is open and accessible to us all. Its yearly event, MozFest, is a unique hybrid: Part art, tech and society convening, part maker festival, and the premiere gathering for activists in diverse global movements fighting for a more humane digital world.