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child-blueChildren are growing up with technology that provides them with incredible opportunities. Information is literally at their fingertips.

The flip side of this is information about us is also at marketers’ finger tips. That’s great if we love seeing relevant ads pop up in our social media feeds, ads that help us find products and experiences we may not otherwise have known about. But educating young people about what they reveal about themselves to their phones and devices is critical.

This can sound paranoid until we think through the kinds of apps available and the intimate information they collect and sell.
Digital health tools available today include:

  • girlonphone-blueOnline therapy sessions
  • Fitness and calorie trackers
  • Menstrual cycle, birth control and sexual health tracking
  • Mindfulness and meditation apps and devices
  • Sleep monitoring
  • Relationship advice
  • ADHD symptom management

There was even a report that revealed depression can be diagnosed with near accuracy by analyzing an Instagram user’s posts and favorite filters.

All of these tools bring obvious benefits. But what are the less obvious harms?

Technology should work for the good of patients and consumers. In today’s atmosphere of tough to decipher privacy policies, sometimes the best advice is simply to think before you share. Maybe your kids use a fitness tracker, but it is not tied to a primary e-mail address or phone number. Have discussions about taking steps to protect sensitive data.