Can Blockchain Help Protect Children Online in Web3 Environments?

May 28, 2024 | Education

When we think about understanding blockchain and crypto, we might think it’s too hifalutin. That only seasoned tech nerds who study the markets religiously every day, looking at Ethereum all time price chart on Binance for example, to daily Bitcoin rises and falls, get anything from it.

The truth of the matter is, that there’s much more to blockchain than meets the eye. It’s now being touted (and actively used) as a way to keep our data more secure online. This could potentially be a big win for children too. Let’s look at the potential for blockchain and web3 to give youngsters a safer web experience.

What is Web3 and can it help kids online?

Let’s look at Web3 more closely. It’s got the potential to offer kids a more secure space for online activities. It’s based on decentralized technology and this means that now and in the future, children will be able to own and control their data and take part in a flourishing digital economy that’s safe.

Blockchain is at the core of everything Web3 does. This technology offers a decentralized and secure platform for all online activities – making it a no-brainer for children. Blockchain tech means that children’s data – anything shared, from dates of birth to phone numbers will be less susceptible to hacking or manipulation. Parents can therefore have peace of mind as personal information is protected and safe.

The other great feature of Web3 is the development of decentralized applications – also known as dApps. They can allow kids the chance to have engaging and educational experiences online without any chance of their data or information being stolen by hackers. dApps mean that kids have a safe platform to express themselves and securely chat to others. Much safer than social media networks, which are a worry for many parents as children get older.

Wait… are blockchain and web3 all they say they are?

With every new technology development – there’s always a raft of positives, but there are always concerns that need to be addressed and Web3 and blockchain for children are no different. Whilst many leading news outlets like The Economist and Binance have rightly written about blockchain becoming something that could oust many of the big tech giants in the coming years – there are some minor niggles about whether or not blockchain and Web3 might have some consequences for kids.

Some worry that blockchain tech might be harmful to children because the information recorded is permanent and immutable. This immutability could cause conflict with current regulations. GDPR states that children who give their information when they ‘don’t necessarily understand the consequences’ should have a right (when they are of legal age) to have that information deleted.

This is all well and good, but blockchain doesn’t allow the deletion of any information. This could create problems further down the line.

One thing that worries child protection agencies and even charities who help migrant families is that whilst blockchain applications can actively help children of migrants have a ‘portable identity’ to enable them to access goods and services – this could also be used as a form of surveillance, which could create problems down the line. There’s got to be some sort of balance struck, but what that is at the moment, is unclear.

There are also some concerns that blockchain might actually increase children’s risk of exposure to harm online, though these risks are not currently borne out by any trends in data or specific cases being recorded. Some charities feel that just the actual act of being online – however it’s accessed can magnify threats and harms.

Protecting kids online is key – can Web3 and blockchain really manage it?

The big question at the end of all this is can Web3 and blockchain together really help protect children online?

Well, given that there are risks associated with crypto and blockchain regarding minors – the one community that could do its bit to help dispel any fears and rumors is the blockchain and crypto groups themselves.

One way forward is to ensure that Web3 takes a keener interest in having built-in Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements. As with everything, this is easier said than done. However, allowing the tech brains behind crypto and bitcoin to talk to and educate parents and people in the tech industry is one way forward to smoothing out worries and concerns over safety and security. The more they’re seen to be doing their bit and influencing everyone from parents through to Government agencies, the more chance there is of making strides in the way Web3 is accepted as a way of keeping families safer online.

Let’s end on a positive note! In short, the answer is yes – blockchain and web3 can provide a safe, well-functioning space for children to use the internet safely and securely. There are, as with any relatively new technology launches, going to be issues that need ironing out – or problems that need to be addressed, but in the coming years, this tech will provide a basis that means our children and other vulnerable young adults can use the internet under parental supervision with much less hassle (and associated worry).

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