With Big Tech and businesses increasingly targeting children in terms of advertising, marketing, sales, data mining and surveillance, NewTechKids encourages parents, caregivers and teachers to start thinking more critically about how technology impacts children and teens.

We are one of the supporters of the Dutch Code for Children’s Rights in the Netherlands. Drawn up by the University of Leiden and the Waag and commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, the Code outlines 10 principles which encourage designers and developers to respect the rights of children when developing digital services.

Another excellent resource related to this issue is Susan Linn’s recently-published book ‘Who’s Raising the Kids? Big Tech, Big Businesses and the Lives of Children’. In a nutshell, she alleges that Big Tech and Big Business (toy companies, the entertainment industry) are deliberately trying to come between teachers and children and parents/caregivers and children to sell products, services and advertising.

The multi-billion dollar education industry has become a key commercial battleground. In this video, Susan Linn criticizes Big Tech’s take on “personalized learning”, describing it as eliminating the interaction between a child and teacher and having kids work on what the computer feeds them. She clarifies that true personalized learning takes place when a teacher monitors a child’s learning process and tailors learning to amplify their strengths and address their weaknesses.

“Technology can’t replace human contact for children and that’s what Big Tech is really trying to do. They’re coming between teachers and children and they’re coming between parents and children as well.” She is calling on the government to limit Big Tech’s targeting of children.

In her book, Susan provides strategies on how adults can protect kids. She suggests easy-to-implement tips for protecting kids such as:

  • having screen-free family meals
  • parents and children putting away devices and doing something together once per week

Whether or not you agree with people like Susan, parents, caregivers and educators should add strategies curbing the influence of Big Tech and Big Business into their overall parenting and teaching responsibilities.