Well hello there!
You caught Mama Bear after she's been awake now since 4am, powerfully hacking up her site to add ever more goodies for you. Today, for example, I just finished adding a new tasty Fitness Store – do feel free to check it out whenever you'd like!
But that's not the topic of today's post, no oh no! Instead, MamaBear insists on asking you this question.
Alrighty then, tell me.
Is content you *need* to know….being withheld not only from you, but your children as well?
I present for your delection: The Internet Filter bubble. Do make sure to watch it in its entirety…it's utterly fascinating.
Is that scary or what?????
Now, for brilliant parents like us, that's one thing. We all have the ability to learn just how to uncover where the news is that we really need.
But…what about our kids?
I'm all for filtering out inappropriate material, of course.
But imagine the following…
- What if your teen, when searching on "diversity", gets shown results replete with political correctness *only*?
- What if your teen, when searching on "gay", gets shown results that glorify gay-bashing?
- What if your teen, when searching on "sex", gets shown results that highlight double-standards?
- What if….
See what Mama Bear means?
It's one thing for our kids to get messages shoved down their throats by their peers.
It's another thing entirely to have Internet search results mimic those peers!
(derived from the types of links your kid generally clicks on etc.).
So what *are* some of the signals Google uses to determine what kind of content to show?
They could include:
- where do we move the mouse and mark text in the search results
- amount of typos while searching
- how often do we use related search queries
- how often do we use autosuggestion
- how often do we use spell correction
- distribution of short / general queries vs. specific / long tail queries
- which other google services do we use (gmail / youtube/ maps / picasa /….)
- how often do we search for ourselves
(got that list over at What are the 57 signals google uses to filter search results?)
Think about your children now.
- Think about their spelling ability.
- Their search ability.
- What they click on *most* from their peers.
When they *are* ready to be exposed to new ideas and thinking…will Google and Facebook deliver to them that opportunity?
Or will they be continually walled into their own tiny Internet Bubble?
It's something on which to think, aye?
Which brings me now to the question….
How on earth can you protect your teen children from missing out on knowledge?
It's tough, I'll tell you that! But if you have a good relationship with your kids, you can run the following test with them:
- Step 1.) Have them search on an emotionally-charged topic on their computer. Bullying, diversity, gay rights, etc. Take a snapshot (Hypersnap is a nice free utility).
- Step 2.) Then do the same search on your computer. Take another snapshot.
- Step 3.) Then do the same search on Facebook. Take a third snapshot.
Then sit down and compare the results!
If your kids are anything like Mamabear's cubs, they'll *hate* the idea that Big Brother is telling them what it thinks they *should* know.
Use this as a lesson to reinforce that alternative opinions will always exist, and that wise people take the time to see *all* sides.
In other words, don't take the Internet search results at face value….always encourage your kids to use their brains as well.
Their future growth will thank them for it.
ps – want other great takes on the Internet Filter bubble? Check out:
- Bursting the Bubble: Are We Isolated in a World Wide Web of One?
- Don’t Let Algorithms Supplant Your Mind
- MoveOn.org founder on why personalized news is dangerous
- What the Internet Knows About You
- When the Internet Thinks It Knows You
and you can get the book too over at: