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The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

The Student News Site of Athens Academy

The Spartan Review

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OYSP, The Place to Be
April 25, 2024

Wow, This Is Just Like 1984: Data Collection and Teens

Juniors George McMaster and Prince-Howard Curie checking out George’s phone

In a digital age, where information is the most valuable resource, your data and who can access it should matter. Yet many people, especially kids and teens, are unaware of how private their data really is.

Whenever you visit a new website, it can track your every action on the site, even your location. That’s right – your IP address can be traced right to where you live. Downloading a new app as an Apple user, you may have been asked if they can track your activity across other platforms. It’s ridiculous to think that companies can track every digital movement you make, even if it’s not their application. That time when you searched something on Google and saw an ad for it the day after on Instagram isn’t a coincidence. It’s shady marketing. Your data is digital commodity to feed algorithms designed to keep you in a perpetual cycle of scrolling, feeding input, seeing targeted advertisements, and more scrolling.

I asked several ACAD students about companies’ policies on data collection. None of them could clearly answer what specific data companies collected. I then requested a report on what Instagram collected. It contained posts I liked, comments, posts, followers, people I followed, reels I interacted with, and even ads that I saw.

Everyone I interviewed agreed that data collection should be allowed- to a degree. “I think that it should be legal to [collect data] to a certain extent. I think it’s good [to get targeted advertisements],” Molly Smith, class of 2025, reasoned. Similarly, Prince-Howard Currie, a junior, said, “I think companies should make it more clear as to what kind of data they want to collect. I think companies have to collect data to give customers what they want, but there should be a line.” Companies should let the default be as privacy-conscious as possible, and let people opt in to data collection.

Let’s face it – we’re a digital generation. Kids are starting to use phones and social media at an increasingly younger age. Everyone I interviewed also agreed that there should be restrictions for kids and teens.


“Teens do a lot of things on social media, but I feel like you shouldn’t collect data from teens. As a teen you’re giving things left and right. You’re not as conscious of your privacy,” Neela Sudaghar, a senior, stated.

Privacy is one of the most basic rights we have, and it’s being slowly stripped away from us by corporations wanting to make a quick buck. Your data is not a neat little package to be assigned a monetary value- it is a part of you. We, as a generation, need to stop giving that up before it’s too late.

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About the Contributor
Joshua Xie
Joshua Xie, Guest Writer
Joshua Xie is a current junior at Athens Academy and is excited to write on important issues for the Spartan Review. In the school community, he is involved in the Honor Council, school orchestra, and Model UN. Besides writing articles, he loves playing the violin, fencing, and computer programming.

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