My daughter isn't allowed on social media, even though most of her friends have multiple accounts. At thirteen, she's perfectly happy engaging over the phone the same way we did at her age, but eventually, we know our tightened grip will loosen, forcing her to fend for herself and make safe choices. Until then, it is our job to teach her what we know, and one thing we are sure of: our smartphones are spying on us.
A big part of parenting in the modern world includes educating children on internet safety, particularly when it comes to third-party apps and backend programming. But how are we supposed to keep up with ever-evolving technology when half of us can't even remember why we walked into a room?
One of the biggest complaints I have as a parent is how third-party apps will manipulate their privacy settings — microphones, location services, and keyboard tracking — when updating software to enhance targeted promotions. It explains why the shoes you were eyeballing last week at Nordstrom are now showing up wherever you virtually stroll. But how much information do you want these apps to know about your children? Me: Zero.
The other night, after hearing my boyfriend complain about a recent ad, my daughter grabbed his phone and said, "show me a million pictures of Corgi's." The next morning, when he swiped up to unlock his phone, the very first thing he saw was a post on Twitter.
"Your regular reminder that a corgi crossed with any other breed just ends up looking like a corgi disguised as the other dog," wrote @soapachu, attaching a photo of the coolest corgi mix we've ever seen besides ours (and yes, we are those people).
The message, since shared over 45.7K times, began a string of adorable images from thousands of dog-loving fans, including yours truly. I highly recommend scrolling this feed when you get a chance; it's a great way to keep from losing your cool online.
While this may be a sweet example of how third-party apps roll, it goes without saying that you should proceed with caution before handing over a hi-tech device to your kids. Lock it down, parents. Be sure to check the microphone and location settings to see which apps are using them, and turn that shit off. This has been a public service announcement from Mama Bear.