How Data Science Is Helping with Online Youth Safety by Dennis O'Reilly

May 14, 2019

Data science is the practice of extracting intelligence from mountains of information collected and stored in every form and format imaginable. The field holds great promise for industries and businesses as diverse as agriculture, publishing, finance, and aerospace. However, little attention has been paid to how predictive analytics, machine learning, and other data science techniques will benefit children. Yet the youngest of us are poised to reap the greatest benefits from data science, beginning with use of the technology to promote online youth safety.

Making the Internet of Things safe for all ages

The world of the future will be populated by connected devices — some visible, and some transparent. Whenever a connection is established, a record is created of the transaction, which automatically poses a security risk for the people identifiable by the "bread crumbs" left by the ever-growing record of such transactions. The bread crumbs include IP addresses, cell tower signals, GPS tracks, and other personally identifiable information.

The advent of connected toys raises concerns about the data-collection practices of the toy vendors. Consumer Reports recommends that parents determine the data collected by connected-toy vendors and avoid toys that pose a risk to the child's and the family's privacy. However, it will be nearly impossible for parents to control the flow of personal data between their children and devices linked to the internet as part of the Internet of....

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