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Saturday, August 13, 2022

Privacy watchdogs issue a warning about the elves on the shelf

It has become a treasured Christmas tradition for many families to have an Elf on a Shelf, which is based on a book written in 2004 by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, the elf hides in a new location in the house each day, reporting back to Santa Claus on the good and bad conduct of the children in the house. Finding the elf’s new place each morning is a highlight of the season for many youngsters, while parents get to use their imaginations to come up with new locations.

They, on the other hand, find him scary. It’s invasive, and it’s even harmful. They believe that the lanky elf is inadvertently teaching children the incorrect lessons, acclimating them to being monitored by a police state, and training them to meekly accept continuously being observed by an invisible authority figure, all of which are detrimental to their development.

It’s not as if Santa didn’t have his eyes on the youngsters prior to the arrival of the elf. Due to the fact that he can see you when you’re sleeping, knows when you’re awake, and knows whether you’ve been good or bad, Santa has long depended on a sophisticated surveillance network to make his naughty or nice determinations about children.

Those who are concerned with the dangers of monitoring in the ordinary world, on the other hand, see something ominous in the elf. The presence that they perceive behind those adorable, blue, and highly dilated eyes is one they wouldn’t want to welcome into their homes.

The deputy director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public interest research organisation, Caitriona Fitzgerald, believes that children need quiet areas in order to develop a feeling of autonomy and independence as they grow older.

In an interview with the Surveillance Technology Oversight Project, Mr. Cahn said that children should be educated that “no one should be staring at you in your bedroom without your agreement.” “Even in the most beautiful manner,” he said, “there is a cost to normalising spying.”

As an instructional coach in the New Mexico town of Los Alamos, Liz Janusz expressed her dissatisfaction with the elf in schools, citing the fact that it excludes children who do not celebrate Christmas as a primary reason. Ms. Janusz, on the other hand, said she enjoys the tradition for her children — it simply requires a small reworking of the tale.

Heather Flannigan, the mother of a 16-month-old child who lives in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, said she was looking forward to concealing the elf for the first time next year for the first time in her life. The part about monitoring, on the other hand, doesn’t sit well with her.

At the very least, several privacy groups, who generally concentrate on the extremely serious repercussions of overstepping government boundaries and the increasing reach of technology businesses, had a little fun with the issue of the elf.

ePrivacyInfoCenter’s Calli Schroeder reacted to a reporter’s questioning about the elf with lyrics to the tune of “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.” Schroeder is the global privacy counsel at the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

 

Jonathan James
I serve as a Senior Executive Journalist of The National Era
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