I remember listening to the lyrics of the great song “My Generation” as a teenager in The Otton, Ohio. I never paid much attention to the song, but the song left a big impression – about some other generations who are unable to understand our struggle, combined with a yearning to do something big. Whether it is to romanticize the past or to have some variation in social norms, at least it seems that life was simple back then. Media meant comic books, movies and arcade games. Video games were on cartridges released by Atari or Nintendo. Our technology did not use the data to understand preference behavior or to make recommendations for engaging gamers globally.
Generation Z has never known a world where the Internet did not exist and they have a great sample of digital media.
Generation Z, born in 1997 or later, represents today’s teenagers. They never knew a world where the Internet did not exist and they have a great sample of digital media for entertainment, engagement, engagement and communication. Online gaming, streaming media and social media provide endless ways to create, collaborate, inspire and socialize.
However, there is a negative aspect associated with high levels of digital media. Researchers are already concerned about the impact of the Internet on feelings of depression, anxiety, bullying, drug addiction, and inadequacy. And now, academics and researchers are warning about similar threats posed by unethical data usage, privacy violations and algorithmic bias. Nevertheless, many teens rely too heavily on the accumulation of data from online applications, social media platforms, and other web-based services, which are largely unaware of current or potential risks (direct or tactile).
Social media networks that rely heavily on advertising for revenue, data collection, sharing, and usage are critical to the success and growth of these billion-dollar services. Data including personal identifiable information (PII), behavioral data, preferential data, usage data, and other types of activities are evaluated, analyzed and used to not only retain and attract users, but also to engage users with their activities. Let’s long for the demonetization effort. Hyper-Targeted Advertising.
Now with a large part of the world as a result of the epidemic, we have seen an increase in social media usage. But we are also rethinking our relationship on social platforms. The rise of devolution, particularly on social networks, has increased these concerns.
The biggest issue, in my opinion, is transparency around the risk of data retention, data oversharing, and comprehensive data management. Suppose users delete their social media accounts completely; Their user data can still remain in the form of tags, posts and mentions. Some platforms allow users to delete their accounts and clear the data, although the data may have been relaunched and shared on an already open web. Privacy control becomes an important issue as more of these applications rely on data to appeal to advertisers. But as more applications are connected through major social networks, for convenience, data transfer between social platforms takes place easily and often invisibly.
As a Gen-Xer, I stand very much to lose financially, medically, and reputably if my data is compromised and wind up at the hands of malicious cyber actors. However, such warnings may not resonate in the same way with young people who are not concerned about retirement accounts or comprehensive medical records. Resources and educational content on digital identity, hygiene, privacy, cyber attacks and how to protect yourself online still focus more on my generation. On the other hand, most of the information created for Gen Z focuses on how parents can protect their children online. It works to an extent, but as many parents know, teens often find ways around firewalls and blockers.
As many parents know, teenagers often find ways around firewalls and blockers. For our very own online youth, more control is not the answer.
For our very own online youth, more control is not the answer. Instead, we need more education and dialogue designed for the community it wants to serve. Teens are creating a daily online digital footprint through mentions, tags and posts. The next generation – Generation Alpha, born 2010 and later – has a digital footprint since birth. We have to recognize positive influences – connection, community, support, entertainment, and creativity when discussing potential impacts. This can vary from Cyber Criminals to Cyberbelly. It can also be the result of unintentional activity that exposes users without their knowledge.
Teens never know the world without sharing data. But it provides a false sense of familiar security. To puncture this, we need to ease the complexities associated with online data and digital identity. How do social platforms gather and share data to personalize content, develop differentiated services, and connect users? How does a complex web of third-party data aggregators collect and share data to retrieve online users?
Understanding the readily available online information and the risks involved in myriad ways one can use (or take advantage of) it is a complex, dynamic story. Talking about a possible loss to your credit score might not be on the mark for a 17-year-old. Even discussing how your social media profile may be perceived by employers and colleges may not have the desired impact for a generation that often values openness over privacy.
A better example might be a look at the impact of canceled culture, cyberbullying or disinfection. By providing tangible examples related to teenagers, teachers can make comparisons better and help teenagers understand the implications of many larger privacy issues, including security and user rights. And of course, it helps to be authentic – meaning the appeal and dynamics of the subculture, trends and collective power of creative communities.
Through collaboration and engagement, I believe that a curriculum can be designed to emphasize the use of secure and sustainable social media, and digital identity management. Hacks, identity theft, disintegration, misinformation and deep fraud are set to increase in the coming decade. We need all users to help reduce the potential risks to our online lives, an initiative that can help protect my generation, their generation and future generations.