In today’s digital world, it is almost impossible to go anywhere or do anything without giving away some of your personal data or risking its security.
In fact, according to a new white paper from Publishers Clearing House Consumer Insights, an overwhelming majority (86 percent) of American adults are concerned about the privacy and security of their personal information and data.
The authors of the white paper argue that the rise of generic artificial intelligence—technology that is dependent on the data on which it is trained—could put our personal data at even greater risk.
The white paper also found that more than two-thirds of American adults surveyed said they did not understand how their data was being used, which the authors argue is a result of data literacy not being taught in schools. the result is. They also argue for better federal regulation on businesses’ data collection and for companies to be more transparent about how they use consumers’ data.
The report is based on results of a nationally representative survey of 45,231 U.S. adults ages 25 and older conducted by Publishers Clearing House Consumer Insights between April and June. The data analysis was conducted by Tiffany Johnson, assistant professor of consumer behavior at New York University; Daniela Molta, assistant professor of digital advertising at Syracuse University; and Evan Shapiro, an assistant professor at New York University and the Business School of Fordham University.
In an interview with Education Week, Molta and Shapiro discussed why data literacy education should start as early as kindergarten.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
What was the most surprising data point in the survey?
Molta: Most Americans are concerned about personal data. People generally feel inadequate. Many people feel as if they have no idea what is happening with their personal data. This is worrying, because it’s understandable that people feel underserved. Today it is very difficult to understand how your data is being collected and used. We don’t make it easy for people—not for businesses. The government has done nothing to help. That’s really what leads us to this data literacy idea, that we really need to improve everything from the ground up in terms of consent [about data collection] Showing how young children are using the devices when they get a tablet for the first time and making sure they understand some of the elements of data privacy with it etc.
What should data literacy education look like at every grade level?
Shapiro: We teach children to use computers right from the first class, but we do not teach them where their clicks are going. At every age, [we should] Teach age-appropriate lessons on safety rules around the technology they’re using: This is how an iPhone works, and these are the things you’re telling it, and this is what the device constantly does with it. Base. You are giving so much information [social media] Platforms regularly talk about you, and that’s what they’re doing with this. But jobs are available in these sectors also. This way you can find a career in big data. This way you can find a career in product design. This way you can find a career in marketing and advertising on these platforms. It’s not all bad.
Molta: Maybe start in kindergarten, [we can talk about] What is personal data? I think the concept of personal space is something that young children understand – you could even use it as an analogy, and then talk about “my address is personal data”. So just start really, really simple. Then as they move forward, [we could talk about] Why is it important to protect? [your data], What is the actual value exchange when you visit a website or app? What are some concrete ways you can protect your data?
How can we help teachers do this when their plates are already full?
Molta: Maybe there is a way to create an e-learning ecosystem so that either instructors can learn on their own before going out and teaching students, or [for them] Sharing with students so they can co-teach in a way. Schools can also bring subject matter experts into the classroom. Here some laws can also be helpful in the field of education.
Shapiro: What am I going to double click on? [Daniela] Said. Creating training modules for professional teachers is probably the most important aspect of this. Whether it is PTA-funded or school board-funded or state level-funded, [it’s important to] Raising money to train teachers and students on how to use technology to keep everyone safe. It should be apolitical. I can’t think of a more important topic than this. All [learning] These days technology takes over.
What would you say to convince policymakers to prioritize data literacy?
Shapiro: These are life skills. It’s a matter of survival, whether your privacy is hacked, and your identity stolen, or something is posted that derails your career prospects. If you think that you are providing complete education to the students in your district or your state without teaching these aspects of basic survival, then you are fooling yourself.
Molta: As we look to the future, we’re in this big data world, and we’re seeing what’s happening with AI. This is just increasing. We can expect the amount of personal data being collected and used to only grow and grow and grow. If we don’t start dealing with this now and get left behind for the next 20 years, I’m kind of afraid what our status as a society will be if we continue to be so misinformed.