Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt has come under fire in the past for some anti-privacy statements, but it looks like he’s changed his mind. In a recent interview with CNN, Schmidt gave his top 6 predictions for the future of tech. His top prediction? Online privacy is going to become even more important.
It’ll be so important, he says, that parents will have the online privacy talk with their kids before the sex talk…
“Parents will … need to be even more involved if they are going to make sure their children do not make mistakes online that could hurt their physical future. As children live significantly faster lives online than their physical maturity allows, most parents will realize that the most valuable way to help their child is to have the privacy-and-security talk even before the sex talk.”
We agree. In a world where a person’s digital life can have direct consequences for their real life, it’s critical that kids know how to handle the public nature of the web. Growing up is hard to do, and it’s even harder when all your mistakes are on public display online.
He also thinks that online privacy issues will drive how parents choose their children’s names, predicting that “some parents will deliberately choose unique names or unusually spelled traditional names so that their children have an edge in search results, making them easy to locate and promotable online without much direct competition.”
In other words, if you want to make sure your child isn’t easily found online, give him a super common name. It’s a lot harder to find the right John Smith than to find the right Maddox Jolie-Pitt.
Good for Eric Schmidt for coming around and recognizing that online privacy is a big deal, and that it’ll matter even more to people as they raise kids whose lives increasingly unfold online.