Safeguarding Children in the Era of Big Data

By Ron Kerbs, CEO, Kidas

In the ever-evolving landscape of cyberspace, 2023 unveiled a concerning trend: major players in the tech industry, including giants like Meta and Discord, were found either misusing or inadequately handling data — particularly data belonging to children. As we stride into 2024, legislative and regulatory efforts are underway to address these data privacy concerns. However, it is crucial for parents, guardians, schools and anyone responsible for the well-being of children to remain vigilant. Rather than solely relying on regulatory measures, proactive steps must be taken to educate and empower the younger generation with proper online etiquette and safety guidelines.

The Big Data Dilemma

The past year has highlighted instances where big data companies and social media platforms, entrusted with the sensitive information of millions, fell short in safeguarding the privacy of their youngest users. From targeted advertising to data breaches, vulnerabilities in existing systems became apparent, raising serious questions about the ethics of data collection and usage.

In response to these concerns, legislators and policymakers are racing to establish frameworks that hold tech companies accountable for their handling of user data, especially that of our youngest users. While these initiatives are commendable, the pace of technological advancements often outstrips the speed at which regulations can be implemented and enforced.

Be Cautious

As we await the implementation of stricter data protection measures, it is imperative for parents to exercise caution when allowing children access to the digital realm. This is not a call for technophobia – a fear of technology, but rather a plea for prudence. Parents should take an active role in familiarizing themselves with the privacy policies of the platforms their children engage with, understanding how data is handled and staying informed about any changes in those policies. Once decisions have been made on what social media networks, video game platforms and other online access children have, parents should put boundaries in place to keep their children safe.

Shaping Digital Citizens

Instead of relying solely on external regulations, the onus is on parents, guardians and educators to instill in children a foundational understanding of responsible digital citizenship. This involves teaching them not only about the potential dangers lurking online but also about the importance of respectful communication, empathy, and adherence to ethical guidelines.

Kidas, a software company specializing in monitoring in-game voice and text communication in PC video games, discovered a troubling trend between October and December 2023. Among gamers aged 8 to 15, 23% experienced privacy violations, including the sharing of sensitive information such as credit card details, social security numbers and passwords during their gaming activities.

Despite most social media platforms and games setting a minimum usage age of 13, an alarming 31% of identified threats were directed at children between 8 and 12 years old during the same timeframe. More unsettling is the fact that 35% of 13-year-olds, the age at which many platforms require account creation, faced privacy violation threats. This suggests that even at the age of 13, children may not possess the necessary technological savvy to ensure their online safety.

To safeguard children online, it is imperative to focus on education and protection measures. Providing guidance on the potential dangers of the internet, emphasizing the types of information to avoid sharing online and fostering an understanding of the anonymity inherent in online interactions are crucial steps in ensuring the safety of children in the digital realm.

Earlier Intervention

In an era where children gain digital literacy at an increasingly young age, the importance of early intervention cannot be overstated. Waiting for regulatory frameworks to fully catch up is not a viable strategy. Parents should seize the opportunity to educate their children about the intricacies of the digital world and empower them to make informed decisions regarding their online presence. Education about monitoring and the importance of a shield online will help keep the lines of communication between parents and children which allows for early intervention. When both parents and children are in the loop on what’s happening online, early intervention becomes possible.

The Role of Monitoring Software

Recognizing the challenges parents face in monitoring their children’s online activities, technology provides a solution. Software solutions offer parents a valuable tool to keep tabs on in-game voice and text communication. By leveraging such monitoring tools, parents can strike a balance between fostering independence and ensuring their children’s safety in the virtual space.

Monitoring software serves as a bridge between cautious parenting and the ever-expanding digital landscape. It allows parents to understand their children’s online interactions, identify potential risks and intervene when necessary, promoting a safer and more secure online experience.

As children are exposed to the internet at increasingly younger ages, they lack the emotional and mental maturity to know how to deal with many of the real dangers they may be exposed to on the internet. A child’s innocence blindsides them when an online predator tells them that they are the same age and begins to form a friendship with them. The same innocence is what gets them taken advantage of when another gamer suggests they will give them free gaming currency and then steals their gaming accounts with a simple click.

With a monitoring software on board, parents are given a birds eye view into any threats their children are exposed to enabling them to be proactive in dealing with threats as soon as they are detected. Parents can’t completely rely on their children to have the maturity to come to them when they are exposed to a threat online, or to be aware of all threat exposures. Instead, parents need to work in partnership with their child by communicating about monitoring softwares as well as educating them on dangers online.


As we confront the challenges posed by the misuse of children’s data, the emphasis should not solely be on reactive regulatory measures. Parents, guardians and educators must proactively engage in the digital education of children, empowering them to navigate the online landscape responsibly. By combining vigilance with technological solutions, we can foster a generation of digital citizens who are not only aware of the potential risks but are also equipped with the skills to navigate the digital playground safely. In doing so, we pave the way for a future where the digital world becomes a secure and enriching space for all.

About the Author

Safeguarding Children in the Era of Big DataRon Kerbs is the founder and CEO of Kidas. He holds an MSc in information systems engineering and machine learning from Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and an MA in global studies from the Lauder Institute at the University of Pennsylvania. Ron was an early-venture capital investor, and prior to that, he was an R&D manager who led teams to create big data and machine learning-based solutions for national security. First Name can be reached online at [email protected] and at our website at

February 23, 2024

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