Microsoft's latest operating system Windows 10 has a feature in its family accounts set-up that keeps track of what websites kids are browsing and reports back to parents.
The "activity reports" feature is enabled by default and will send weekly reports to admins (in this case, parents) of all the sites the child has visited – in particular flagging blocked websites and certain searches they have tried to access. It'll also report how long each child spent online.
Pink News created a fictional child to see what is being relayed to the parents and what it saw was a report showing all websites visited, how many times it was accessed and how many times blocked sites were attempted. Pornographic sites and search terms were highlighted even if the sites were viewed in private browsing or history was cleared.
With monitoring even going as far as recording what games and apps they used it calls in the question whether it's protective or an invasion of privacy. Every parent wants to ensure their child is staying away from harmful online material but it means curiosities, interests and typical coming-of-age behaviour are no longer able to be exercised without a busybody bot narking to your parents.
Star Trek actor George Takei who is a LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) activist has expressed his concern over the negative impacts of this surveillance and how it could lead to "outing" a child. Takei continues: "Outing is only one of the disturbing issues here. I worry for the child who seeks online help to avoid abusive parents, only for the parents to be notified. I wonder what other situations this will aggravate?"