21 June 2013

Are Your Kids Tech-Safe: A Forum on Data Privacy

As a mom blogger, I aim to share ideas, new products, mommy tips and what-not to my readers; as a mom alone, I sometimes think if I had shared too much already - especially if it's about my child's privacy. This dawned on me two weeks ago when I attended Vibal Foundation's data privacy forum.

We were still maximizing our last summer hurrah vacationing in Zambales when I received an invite for an event in EDSA Shangrila last June 6th, entitled "Are Your Kids Tech-Safe?" So it was actually a plan already to go home a day before because I also had to attend an event on the afternoon at the same date (will do a separate post about it!). R was supposed to accompany me on the two events because he got a leave; but we later realized that the car was on coding. In short, he went back to the camp before window hours ended. Anyway, Kim of Mom on Duty was also invited so I just met up with her and we went there together. 

The program, hosted by the beautiful and effervescent Issa Litton, had already started when we arrived.

She introduced the first speaker from SafeGov.org, Jeff Gould. SafeGov.org "is an international organization striving to help the public sector to make the right choice in selecting the most transparent or ethical technology providers. Gould is the Chief Executive Officer of Peerstone Research Inc., which produces independent research, expert opinions and custom content for IT clients around the world. He has 20 years of experience in technology publishing and IT market research. Prior to co-founding Peerstone, he worked 6 years at technology publisher CMP Media in a variety of senior editorial positions before being named Director of Strategic Marketing for CMP Europe. Prior to CMP, he also spent six years as CEO of Datastrategies SA, a European IT market research firm he founded in 1988"

Jeff started the forum by presenting The Privacy Challenge of Data Mining in Schools. It pretty much talked about the latest facts and figures on the alarming situation of data privacy around the globe. When I was working at a call center then, I learned how important SSN or Social Security Number is to US residents. It can pull up as many information as possible such as credit card numbers and its PIN. I don't know if it's a good thing or not that we don't have as such in our county. But when Mommy Mundo's Janice Crisostomo-Villanueva, one of the panel members, shared that they found out that her son's photo had been used for another Facebook profile, it made me anxious of what the future lies for my daughter. 

I was thinking if I should refrain from posting Sophia's photos here or should I tell the school to put down the huge tarp with her face. There were many puzzling questions playing on my mind then that it triggered more to analyze things when Ka Arnulfo Empleyo shared his input about the TWO FACES of technology. Ka Arnulfo is the President of the National Association of Public Secondary School Heads. He is also the president of Samahan ng mga Pinunong Kabataan ng Pilipinas, Incorporated and the president of practical Arts & Vocational Educators Association in NCR. He obtained his Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Administration in 1999 from the University of the Philippines - Diliman. He said that technology has its benefits and damages. And that as adults, we should not undermine the children's capability to understand the consequences they may face in using the Internet. 

L-R: Ka Arnulfo Empleyo, Jovel Cipriano, Janice Villanueva, Jeff Gould, Rhodora Ferrer, Ysrael Diloy and Attorney Noel del Prado
Stairway Foundation's Ysrael Diloy also shared that our country currently has PNP Project Angel Net, a special task force that protects every child from all form of internet child exploitation and abuse. 

The forum was a bit short for all the guests' questions and opinions (including yours truly, who participated in the discussion), but in totality, its aim is to make our children's online privacy a big deal. Efforts should also be done beyond our homes and that schools should also help promote the same advocacy.

According to Vibal Foundation, data privacy is the right of everyone, including kids, to a protected and controlled digital footprint. Privacy should thrive even in the online space in as much as personal data shared through email and social media should be responsibly handled. To learn more on student data privacy, visit www.safegov.org

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