Small Print for Small Humans
Do you really want someone to use your phone to record what you say without you knowing? Do you really want strangers looking at all your pictures and texts? Then you better learn about SMALL PRINT. How about strangers selling your pictures and texts to other people? Or following everything you do online?
Of course, secretly peeking into your life is wrong. Still, you probably clicked on a box that gave someone you don’t know permission to do just that.
Whenever you activate a phone or play a computer game or download an app, you see itsy bitsy print at the bottom of the pages. Those tiny words are filled with things that you need to check off before you can use your new computer or play that new game. Those words can be so small that you probably can’t even read them.
If you could read them, they’d sound like gibberish. Many adults with years of education have trouble understanding what those weird words mean. Your parents should look at any small print that you check off, but they might have problems figuring out what they say. What people do know is that when you check the “AGREED” box, you give strangers permission to do scary things.
- Use a web browser?
- Play games online?
- Download apps to your phone or computer?
- Upload pictures for your friends to see?
- Store pictures or text in a cloud?
If you do, then here is a list of just some of the things that you have probably agreed to let strangers do:
- turn your video and audio recorders on
- take and use your pictures and videos
- turn your gaming machine off forever
- track everything you do online and share or sell your activity
- prevent you or your parents from legally stopping people from sharing details from your lives.
Small print is tricky. Teams of well-trained lawyers spend thousands of hours working on every little word. All that time and all those brains are there to protect the big companies that you use online. It’s up to you and your parents to protect YOU.
Make a point of looking for small print. Grab a bunch of your friends and see if all of you can figure out exactly what you agree to when you click that little box. You will be surprised.