Doctorow on Talking to Children About Surveillance

Posted on Sun 04 May 2014 in Dispatches • 1 min read

Great article from Cory Doctorow on the conversations he’s had with his six year old daughter about mass surveillance. What’s particularly revealing is which concepts she intuitively grasps from her own experience with technology, and how that aligns with research done on the online habits of children.

Kids care intensely about privacy, because kids make a lot of mistakes. Making mistakes is how you learn not to make more mistakes in the future. Making mistakes while someone else watches is a qualitatively different experience from making them on your own. Kids know, intimately, why privacy matters.

So I’m not surprised that my kid wants to talk about surveillance with me, and that this subject has grown to eclipse all others during our talks: “Daddy, let’s talk about the spies some more.”

Cory Doctorow, How to Talk to Your Children About Mass Surveillance

The whole article is well worth a read, and particularly of interest for parents. I know that I’ve begun to struggle with how I’ll discuss larger topics like this when my daughter is ready to have them.