Digital Footprints

| April 15, 2008

I have been considering a post dealing with the amount of material online and in-print involving children and what it means for their safety.  For example, there are countless, albeit very well done and highly personal "mommy" blogs or "daddy" blogs or other family blogs that have pictures of their child(ren), family or comments on recent weekend activities; where they went, what they did, who they saw, illnesses recounted.  You name it, you can find it.  Photographers websites and blogs pride often have frequently updated pictures of a baby – week 1, week 2, week 3, first this and first that. 

Webcams connect nurseries and pre-schools to parents across the country.  Our pre-schooler’s teacher regularly e-mails images to us that we access through a public folder through a popular file sharing site.  Access into the school is controlled by an RFID device.  Before 4 years of age your image, likeness, daily activities, when you went into and out of 1/2 day pre-school, projects and video have been captured, filed, copied, written to CD/DVD and uploaded onto dozens of computers and servers. 

I call this "digital footprints" and as much as I am online, I didn’t think any of it was a good idea.  There is something to be said for paper report cards you file away and tattered wallet-sized prints from grade school as markers of development.  It starts day 1 with birth announcements to local newspapers which of course have online content as well, then pictures of grandkids of the newspaper summarized in the year end edition in some communities with online equivalent and so on. 

I never thought all this exposure was a good idea and apparently neither does Mayo Clinic in this recent release:

Birth announcements to no longer be released to the media

Upon the recommendation of The Joint Commission, the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, and the American Academy of Pediatrics, Mayo Clinic will no longer release birth announcements to the media. This change is to increase child safety and protect patient privacy.

Parents may contact newspapers directly to report a birth.

I think this approach will continue as we learn the perils of too much exposure.  JCAHO, NCMEC and the AAP seem to think so as well.

What may have seemed like welcome content and connectivity may have to be restricted for privacy. 

Category: General Healthcare News

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