iOS app Android app More

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors
Sue Scheff

GET UPDATES FROM Sue Scheff
 

Google Glass: A Wink Away from Stranger Danger?

Posted: 05/13/2013 5:26 pm

We are getting used to the constant evolution of technology. As a matter of fact, in many ways, it has become the norm within our culture today. Some things will not change no matter what generation we are in, and that is the concern for the safety of our children. Stranger danger and predators are always a major fear, whether online or off.

The recent media coverage of Google Glass has turned many heads, including those of the "Today Show" hosts who showcased the glasses on their morning show with Lance Ulanoff, Mashable's editor-in-chief.

Google Glass allows the user to take pictures in a snap -- or let me rephrase, in a wink or voice-activated command! It also can allow you to take videos and then immediately upload them to your Google+ account.

A bit of a shocking revelation was found in a recent article in an educational online site claiming to have a pulse on how teachers would use Google Glass. Looking at it academically, albeit somewhat unrealistically, the authors are envisioning the potential for learning experiences with Google Glass.

One positive use of Google Glass for teachers, they claim, is the ability to create first-person educational video guides. No harm there, and this could be a benefit at every grade level.

However, the article goes on to say how students can take advantage of Glass: "Students can throw on a pair of the glasses and record interactions with fellow students on field trips and while out of the classroom in general. A great way for students to start thinking strategically about their everyday actions and what they can learn from them."

Students? At what age? Are they the same students we are preaching to about bullying and cyber bullying prevention? What happens when a cyber bully decides to manipulate these videos? How do we know what they are doing with these videos once they leave school property? Who really owns these videos, and who has legal rights to them when they end up on a website that is not exactly one you would want your child to be seen on?

Google Glass may have its place in the technology world for the geeks that love their electronic toys and with educators using them for teaching purposes, but what happens when this device gets into the hands (or rather, onto the eyes) of unsavory people?

A recent LA Times article warns: "If you see someone wearing Google Glass wink at you, you might want to get out of the way because they're probably not flirting with you."

Parents also need to consider this issue brought up in a recent ZDNet article:

Parents are already on the lookout for strangers apparently taking photos of children in parks and similar places. There are plenty of incidents reported of parents getting police officers involved because they think someone they don't know is taking photos of kids. Imagine how much worse that will get with several Google Glass wearers in the park. Just seeing someone looking at kids will set off the parent alarm.

Imagine your child playing innocently at a playground. Whether they are swinging, sliding down the slide, or hanging upside-down on the monkey bars, kids are known to have a lot of fun at the park or playground, including little girls in dresses. Exactly what images will predators be snapping with their Google Glass and immediately uploading to their Google+ accounts? Where will those photos or videos go next?

On May 3rd, a petition was formed: Ban Google Glass from use in the USA until clear limitations are placed to prevent indecent public surveillance.

It seems that people are starting to think ahead in terms of this piece of Glass potentially causing problems.

The Internet doesn't sleep. Which is why parents need to wake up to the latest and greatest tech gadgets, such as Google Glass. They may have some thrilling features, but are they worth the risk?

Ladies, are you taking a stroll down the beach in your newest bikini? Have you considered a stalker taking a picture or video of you and it hitting the web? And potentially not on a flattering website? Porn sites are a very prosperous venue for many predators.

This doesn't mean that young girls and teenagers in their bikinis aren't immune from these predators.

As an adult that has been a victim of stalkers online, I feel we, as parents, need to be proactive when it comes to learning about technology that will put us all -- and especially our children -- at risk and in potential danger.

What can you do to protect your kids and yourself?

Start by educating yourself about Google Glass. Like with the Google Apps for Education, there are always going to be differences of opinions. I believe an educated parent will have safer children.

Privacy is the main concern with Google Glass and this is an extremely serious issue, especially since it opens the door to other forms of creepy predators -- not only for us, but for kids. Privacy is a word that is already crawling toward extinction, but do we have to push it there faster?

Takeaway tips:

• Privacy is slowly disappearing. Cherish it, take steps to learn all you can about Google Glass.
• Stranger danger can come in all forms. Online and off, talk to your kids about always being aware of their surroundings, whether they are in a park, a shopping mall or online with social networking or other places in cyberspace.
• Be a proactive parent. Be CyberWise, No Grownup Left Behind™, please.

Google Glass will be priced at about $1,500.00. That price point may seem high, especially for most teachers, however it is not out of reach for some people whom may not have the best of intentions.

 

Follow Sue Scheff on Twitter: www.twitter.com/SueScheff

FOLLOW PARENTS