Google Glass – Is this Amazing Gadget Safe for Kids?

Google Glass comes with a thumbnail-size transparent display above the right eye and amazing capabilities such as taking a picture by simply saying “take a picture,” recording anything you see hands-free, sharing what you see live, getting directions in front of you, sending a message by speaking to it, translating your voice and so on (as listed by Google). It has been compared to a wearable computer, and comprises spectacles similar to eye glasses that project a small image to the top right side of your field of vision. For users wearing it all the time, it offers all the capabilities of a smartphone anytime, anywhere. The gadget is very useful for adults, and it also helps kids in their educational tasks. A perfect example for this is an educational app named ‘Sension,’ which uses Google Glass’s camera for facial tracking and also helps students better interact with educational content. This app is also useful for autistic children to interact with others. But the question remains – is the device safe for your kids?

There is already a warning on Google’s Glass FAQ page about kids’ use of Google Glass, which says “Don’t let children under 13 use Glass as it could harm developing vision. Also, kids might break Glass or hurt themselves, and Google’s terms of service don’t permit those under 13 to register a Google account.” Besides that, health care experts say that prolonged near viewing can cause accommodative or focusing problems in children. It is true that extended use of Google Glass can harm kids’ health, and more severe problems arise when others having bad intentions use Google Glass in the presence of your children.

Glass tracks the eye movements of people and makes data requests based on where you are looking, unlike a smartphone. This hands-free gadget will give Google more detailed information about user preferences and desires, often much more than the user himself has conscious access to. The device allows people to manage their social media accounts and upload photos or videos with a few verbal commands. However, these wonderful capabilities pose a threat to kids as predators will get the opportunity to take photos of children in public places without giving any hint to others. As this device provides a complete private computing experience, no one will know whether the user is taking photos or checking any other data. Peers who want to harass your kids can take their pictures and videos stealthily and share them quickly in social networking sites.

Google Glass

This brings home the importance of children having good awareness regarding how they conduct themselves in the presence of Google Glass users. Here are some tips that will help to protect your kids from the potential risks of this gadget.

  • Know about Glass Etiquette and Teach Your Kids – There are various sites that offer excellent beginner-to-advanced level digital media learning for parents. This will help you to know more about this gadget and learn how to behave when near a Glass user. You can then share this information with your kids, educate them and check whether they are following those guidelines.
  • Set Up Restrictions – Have some restrictions in place if you are not comfortable with your children using Glass or being around the gadget. Talk it over with them. Make them understand the potential effects of misuse and how it will impact them.
  • Community Awareness Programs – Encourage your community to implement restrictions on the use of Google Glass in sensitive zones including swimming pools, locker rooms, bathrooms, schools, gyms and beaches. Instill awareness in owners and proprietors about the possibility of Google Glass misuse and encourage them to devise rules for their property. Place boards to inform the public that this wearable device is prohibited in some places. A recent news report says a patron in a Seattle restaurant was kicked out for wearing Google Glass as the device was banned there.

All features of Glass have not yet been released. Even so, it is evident that many issues do exist in connection with its use. At present, select customers are testing Google Glass for $1500, before its release to the public some time in 2014. According to a recent survey, about 86 percent of Internet users mask their digital footprints, which mean a higher number of Internet users remain very difficult to track. Therefore, it is quite imperative to keep your children away from the adverse effects of Google Glass and remind them that no digital rewind button is there for their safety.

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