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Children Express Positive Views of Digital Tracking by Strangers

Children, but not adults, express positive evaluations of tracking another person's possessions

teens on phone

FRIDAY, May 12, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Both children and adults view object tracking as acceptable for owners, but only children express positive evaluations of tracking another person's possessions, according to a study published online May 7 in Child Development.

Susan A. Gelman, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues asked 329 children aged 4 to 10 years and adults whether it is acceptable to use a mobile global positioning system device to track the location of one's own or another person's possessions.

The researchers found that, in accordance with adults, young children viewed object tracking as relatively more acceptable for owners than non-owners. Young children expressed positive evaluations of someone tracking another person's possessions, while adults expressed negative evaluations.

"These divergent moral judgments of digital tracking at different ages have profound implications for how concepts of digital privacy develop, and for the digital security of children," the authors write.

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