RSI Corporate - Licensing

Schools are now ‘soft targets’ for companies to collect data and market to kids — report

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“Schools have become “soft targets” for companies trying to gather data and market to children because of the push in education to adopt new technology and in part because of the rise of computer-administered Common Core tests, according to a new annual report. The report, titled “Learning to be Watched: Surveillance Culture at School” and published Tuesday by the National Center for Education Policy at the University of Colorado at Boulder, is the 18th annual report about schoolhouse commercialism trends. It says student privacy is increasingly being compromised by commercial entities that establish relationships with schools — often providing free technology — and then track students online and collect massive amounts of data about them. Then they tailor their advertising to keep the young people connected to them.”(more)

Congress Confronts a Balancing Act Between Education Research Data and Student Privacy Rights


“During a U.S. House Education and the Workforce Committee hearing on Capitol Hill Tuesday, lawmakers heard testimony on the federal government’s role in making sure researchers and education technology companies are able to use student data in meaningful ways while keeping sensitive information secure from hackers and companies looking to exploit the information for profit…Neil Campbell, the director of next generation reforms at the Foundation for Excellence in Education, told the committee effective privacy policies require “a delicate balance” between parents’ desire for privacy and innovation in schools…“As important as research is,” Campbell said, “we know it is even more important to protect students’ privacy.””(more)

Pew Survey: Parents Staying On Top of Teens’ Online Activities

Education News – Grace Smith

“Teenagers use various digital technologies in this day and age, and parents appear to be doing a decent job keeping up with them. The benefits of digital connection range from the ability to contact a child more readily and easily than ever before to improving kid’s ability to access educational information at the touch of a keyboard, says Monica Anderson for Pew Research Center. But along with the benefits of technology come concerns about who teens are interacting with online and what personal information they are sharing on the Internet…Marion K. Underwood, dean of graduate studies in the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences at the University of Texas at Dallas and a co-author of the report “Being Thirteen: Social Media and the Hidden World of Young Adolescents’ Peer Culture,” said the best approach is to be an active part of teenagers online lives and then to gradually give more and more freedom as the teens mature. “Children who felt like their parents were monitoring their activity online were noticeably less distressed by online conflict,” Dr. Underwood said.”(more)

Are Connected Toys Harmful to Your Kids?

VOA News – Aida Akl

“Toys have come a long way. They’re smarter. They’re Wi-Fi connected. They can talk to children and become their new best friend. And for some experts, that might be a potential problem that could hinder children’s development and put their data at risk. Many connected toys interact with children. Some might record their names or address them by name. Others can answer questions or hold a conversation with children – to a point, as in the case of My Friend Cayla, the first Internet-connected smart doll, My Friend Teddy, and Mattel’s Hello Barbie doll. For Psychologist Larry Rosen of California State University at Dominguez Hills…“My rule of thumb with young children is you never let a child use a piece of technology for more than about a half-hour at a time and that … you then use 3-5 times that amount of time to let them engage in creative play, in the kind of play that stimulates other parts of the brain that [are] important for their development.””(more)

New student database slammed by privacy experts

The Washington Post – Valerie Strauss

“The U.S. Education Department’s new planned system of records that will collect detailed data on thousands of students — and transfer records to private contractors — is being slammed by experts who say there are not adequate privacy safeguards embedded in the project. The non-profit Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, told the department in a January 2016 formal complaint that its new system of records for the “Impact Evaluation of Data-Driven Instruction Professional Development for Teachers” violates the Privacy Act…”(more)

Internet Privacy, Safety Package Becomes Law in Delaware

Education News – Kristin Decarr

“Delaware Governor Jack Markell has signed into law four pieces of legislation that offer citizens and children in the state increased privacy and protection during their online excursions. Under the new law, made up of four acts, educational technology service providers will not be allowed to sell or otherwise distribute the personal information of school-aged children or use it to target advertisements to students or their families. In addition, companies will not be able to advertise inappropriate products, including cigarettes and alcohol, on mobile apps and websites geared toward children.”(more)