One of the most famous images of online life is the New Yorker cartoon captioned “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” The cartoon, published in 1993, was hugely influential in fixing an image in the public imagination of the Internet as a place where anonymity reigned. It did not take long for that humorous view of anonymity to take on a darker cast, as parents began to fear that Internet predators would use this invisibility to lure their children in the guise of twelve-year-old girls. It’s instructive, though, to realize just how long ago this cartoon was published, and how much the Internet has changed since then.
The YouTube video “Ultimate Dog Tease” has jumped from 15 million to 37 million views since the beginning of May 2011. The “JK Wedding Entrance Dance” has hit 67 million views since it was launched on YouTube. These two videos have more followers than some TV shows. They’re fun, they’re silly and, like YouTube as a medium, they are worth celebrating.
Snapchat, the mobile app that lets users send “self-destructing” photos, has the distinction of being the only digital tool that does not have a single redeeming feature. While the moral panic associated with blogs, cell phones, social networks and online games has largely faded in grudging recognition of their more positive uses (indeed, research shows that many parents have actually helped their children lie about their age register for Facebook accounts), Snapchat is seen as the Q-tip of the digital age: its sole function is to do the thing that you’re warned not to do on the box.
The Internet provides marketers with many opportunities to elicit personal information from children. Kids love playing on the Web, and commercial sites for children are continually ranked as top online destinations.
Information privacy is an important policy and social consideration.
The word surveillance comes from the French verb “surveiller”, which, when translated, means “to watch over”.  Sociologist and surveillance scholar David Lyon defines surveillance as “any collection and processing of personal data, whether identifiable or not, for the purposes of influencing or managing those whose data have been garnered”.  Increasingly, information gathering and surveillance technologies are becoming more and more common as part of everyday life and routines. 
Children and youth who use the Internet are highly attuned to surveillance practices.  Research conducted by MediaSmarts demonstrates that for young Canadians surveillance is part of everyday life. While youth once considered the Internet to be a private space where they and their peers could play, communicate, and experiment, these attitudes have largely disappeared: on the contrary, youth now regard the Internet as a completely monitored space.  This surveillance of youth is primarily conducted by parents, teachers/schools, and corporations.
Children and youth are a huge potential market for corporations.
There is a common misconception that youth are not concerned with privacy. On the contrary, though, there is significant evidence to suggest that privacy is a major concern among youth, particularly when it comes to their actions online.  As a result of this concern, young Canadians have developed a wide range of techniques to resist surveillance or negotiate their own privacy.