Ever wondered what would happen if you attached a Fitbit to your toddler or infant? Or thought about how useful it would be for a sensor to live in your baby’s bottom that notified you when you needed to change the diaper? These dreams aren’t for the distant future now that the wearable movement has found the lucrative market of baby gear.
Benjamin Herold in his blog post at Education Week points out a number of products that help create the “Quantifiable Baby” which is an outgrowth of the quantifiable self that our fitness wearables are creating for adults. Herold points out a sensor that tracks language usage, smart diapers, and heart-rate monitors. Herold goes on to outline the concerns that this kind of data feedback can create for parents.
I’m really not worried about that. These are tools that you can choose to use or not use. One important parenting decision that you should ask yourself is how neurotic do you want to be? Video baby monitors were just coming into vogue when our oldest was born and we resisted for a long time. What did we really need to see in her crib in the middle of the night? We eventually caved and bought a video monitor when our fear of her climbing out of the crib (which she never did) outweighed out reticence. Perhaps, we will one day find this kind of tech and data indispensable in the same way that we wouldn’t contemplate buying a non-video baby monitor now.
I am more worried about my baby’s life looking like an episode of CSI: Cyber (although I love the idea of getting to hangout with Patricia Arquette and Ted Danson).
Ever heard of Google dorking? No, it’s not geeks being fascinated by all things Google. It’s using a Google search to turn up information that isn’t viewable in typical Google search results. This information can reveal computers that are old or lacking security updates that make them vulnerable to intrusion by a hacker. Security experts often use this technique when looking for security holes to patch. The technique is in the news because an Iranian hacker used it to control computers at a New York dam.
We have connected a lot of things to Internet. Even my dry cleaner has an app and I’ve written about Internet connected toys before. As we move forward toward an increasingly connected world, we might need to slow down and check to see if we’re ready to deal with the implications of an exposed devices.
And those implications can be big. A virus shutdown the digital operations of a hospital chain in the DC metro area forcing it to turn away patients. Something to think about before you hook your baby up to the Internet.