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When it comes to using technology to track our kids, how much data is too much?

As FitBit Ace becomes available for children, a survey from AVG Online Security Software found that the majority of parents around the world (65%) are comfortable with children aged 10 and up wearing smart devices that track location and record physical activity. Approval ratings for these types of devices varied by region, with Brazil displaying the highest (80%) and Germany the lowest (47%).

The survey of more than 3,558 parents worldwide*, conducted by trends agency Trajectory for AVG, also found that over two-thirds (67%) of respondents feel that information about a child’s location is important for parents to see. Additionally, six out of ten (62%) believe that devices should monitor perceived bad habits, such as how much time a child spends on electronic devices.

The survey data also shows that many parents draw the line on the type of information being collected when it relates to a child’s weight or body image. Just over half of those surveyed (53%) consider it okay to keep tabs on their children’s eating habits. This opinion is more popular in Brazil (76%) but less so in Germany (31%). Just under half (49%) feel that those same devices should be able to track when a child loses or gains weight.

Respondents to the survey were clear that the only other individual who should have any access to a child’s data is their doctor. Nearly two-thirds (55%) agree this would be useful, with parents in France being most in favor (69%) and those in the US being the least (46%). However, sharing this data with others such as teachers and school nurses was deemed unacceptable.

This survey clearly reveals the tensions pulling parents in different directions. While some feel (rightfully) concerned about any information collected on their children, others are drawn to the peace of mind that comes with increased safety. Location tracking, exercise monitoring, meal logging — just like all other facets of parenting, these decisions come down to making informed personal choices.

 

*Parents were surveyed in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, and Brazil.

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