Craig Henderson is a private attorney in Sacramento who is concerned about how the internet has conditioned us to be very casual about entering into legal agreements.
“With the internet, we wind up signing agreements without examining the details and the implications,” Henderson said. “We are conditioned with software downloads to simply click ‘agree’. There is no live person to discuss the contract with. It is implicit that you are going to go along with the application developer’s terms.”
The implications for this kind of conditioning, to simply go along in order to get along without thinking through the conditions of the relationship, is a problem for youth today who are accepting terms and conditions for agreements associated with social media apps, including Facebook, Instagram, Kik, SnapChat, Vine, Tumblr, etc.
The belief is that since it is free there are not any obligations. Not true. In fact, in exchange for free use of the app, we are giving up control over our personal information and photos. Whatever we post, our connections, every detail of our on-line world becomes the property of the app developer to leverage for advertising revenues. Fundamentally, we as individuals agree to accept the risk of public exposure.
So Henderson asks, what are the standards we apply when we and our children are clicking “agree” as a formality of little consequence? “When you agree to terms and conditions you are obligated to something that can be difficult to get out of later,” he said. To raise awareness and educate children about entering into agreements, Henderson suggests that parents go through the following exercise with their children who are using texting and social media.
Social app agreement exercise
Although you may not carry out this exercise for every on-line software app, it could make your entire family more cautious before clicking “agree”.
Print out and review the entire agreement you are required to sign by clicking “agree” in order to use the free app. Ask your child to offer their interpretation of the agreement. Does it make sense to her? Then go over your interpretation of the agreement and highlight the areas of exposure to the individual agreeing to the terms. How will you and your child overcome those risks? What kinds of house rules do you have in place to address the risks?
- Banana Moments: Help for Parenting in the Network Culture
- Teaching kids safe use of texting and social media
- CyberParenting Topics on The Fish 103.9FM
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