May 08, 2018

Google's Got Our Kids

By: Polly Yakovich

Technology Digital Media

Lately we've all been focusing on Facebook and their lock on all of our data. But it turns out that Google's got our kids.

Google has flooded classrooms with their products, collecting data from our students and teaching them how to use the internet - the Google way - and creating trusted customers for life.

Joanna Petrone talks about the ubiquitous use of Google products in her middle-school classroom and breaks down how Google is actively selling "kids the message that Google is a trustworthy arbiter of online safety and privacy."

"As the saying goes, if you are not paying for the service you’re using, the product is you — your personal information, your attention, or, in this case, your children’s. None of this is to say that Google’s classroom technology is not a useful tool. It can provide new avenues for educators and students to research, collaborate, and make real-world connections. Even the Be Internet Awesome curriculum speaks to a real need schools have to prepare students for life in a digital world though they lack resources, including teacher expertise, to do so. The issue isn’t that Google has nothing of value to offer schools — clearly, it has — but rather at what price are we buying it. If it’s too steep we might want to recall lessons from our own educations, not about how to be savvy, polished consumers of technology, but about how to be citizens."

As we wake up, if only a little, to our digital reality, we can make better choices about what we're willing to trade. Are we willing to trade our data for convenience? How do we arm ourselves against savvy players in the digital space who are already two (or a hundred) steps in front of us?

And if we struggle to do this for ourselves, how should we teach our kids about online safety - both overt and covert? That's a curriculum we need.

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