Aug 9, 2019

The "sharenting" kidlash

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Generation Alpha — the first cohort to be born entirely within the smartphone era — is increasingly a battleground between family members over privacy for their tots.

Why it matters: Kids of every generation can relate to being publicly embarrassed by their parents. But Generations Z and A are the first whose embarrassment will be recorded for posterity.

  • Kids don't get to consent to having their entire lives — from the cute to the humiliating — documented online, as noted in a video op-ed by the N.Y. Times.
  • Toss in parents who grew up watching people get fired for Facebook pictures or bad tweets — and add increasing concerns about privacy and identity theft, and you've got the beginning of the end for oversharing about kids online.

Fair enough: But Grandma and Grandpa — or a well-meaning aunt, uncle or cousin — might not be on the same page, as BuzzFeed News reported.

  • “My mom has a public profile and posts several times a day on her page and has tons of interactions, often with people she doesn’t necessarily know,” one millennial parent told BuzzFeed News.
  • “Because I want to be more private about photos of my son, I have had to ask her to please not post his picture — or, if she’s going to, that she please change the privacy settings for that specific post."
  • "For the most part she has done what I’ve asked, but I could tell she was really annoyed about it. One time she posted a photo that straight-up had our home address on it, and she couldn’t understand why I was so upset!”

The bottom line: "Parents get a lot of gratification from telling kids’ stories online," education reporter Anya Kamenetz wrote for the Times.

  • "It’s less clear what our children have to gain from their lives being broadcast in this way."

Go deeper: Meet Generation Alpha, the 9-year-olds shaping our future

Go deeper

YouTube changes policies in response to children's privacy fine

YouTube says it's making 4 major changes to its policies, after settling with the Federal Trade Commission for $170 million for violating children's privacy laws.

Why it matters: The changes announced by the video giant shows that it's taking the problem of preventing further violations somewhat seriously, even if children's privacy advocates argue that the fine didn't go far enough.

Go deeperArrowSep 5, 2019

Facebook funding 2 new BuzzFeed News shows

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Facebook is funding 2 new BuzzFeed shows as a part of its effort to bolster news video on Watch, according to an internal memo by BuzzFeed editor-in-chief Ben Smith that was sent to staff late last night.

Details: The first show — called "Did You See This?" — will launch as a daily news program this September with a rotating cast of BuzzFeed News reporters and pop culture experts. The daily news roundup will unfold "using the Facebook Messenger feature in BuzzFeed’s fan-favorite video format," writes Smith.

Go deeperArrowAug 13, 2019

The financial risks parents take to pay for college

A graduating student wears a money lei on June 14, in Pasadena, California. Photo: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Most middle-class parents view paying for college as a moral obligation, not just a budgetary challenge, according to new research by New York University associate professor Caitlin Zaloom, the New York Times reports.

Driving the news: Even when money isn't a problem, Operation Varsity Blues illustrates that some parents will go to great, possibly illegal lengths to secure the "right" school for their children. Wealthy parents — dentistry professors, doctors, executives, actors and lawyers — funded what the DOJ has called the biggest admissions scam in U.S. history, to secure spots for their kids at the University of Texas, Yale, Georgetown and other schools.

Go deeperArrowAug 30, 2019