2014 Cyber Trends: The new “name tag” app will make you think twice about posting your child’s photos on line

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Cyber Safety for Kids and Families with Joanna and Jodie on 103.9FM The Fish Family Morning Show 

"Name Tag" is a new app that provides facial recognition functionality to smart hones and Google Glass.

“Name Tag” is a new app that provides facial recognition functionality to smart hones and Google Glass. (Photo: www.dailymail.co.uk)

I came across an app called “Name tag” (developed by FacialNetwork.com), which enables smart phones and Google Glass to capture the image of someone in real life, (in a crowd or at a school), and then search to identify them via facial recognition software. And you can do this secretly without notifying the individual being targeted.

Currently the software requires you to opt into their database to be recognized so the app can search for you. But I believe it is a matter of time before that boundary will be lowered.  (Below is the demo.)

Sizing up facial recognition functionality for you and your child

  •  Facial recognition is trending and it will become a routine function of smart devices.
  • As with any innovation it can be used for good or not good.
  • This type of innovation can be useful for dating sites and law enforcement to check for criminal records.
  • The larger concern here is that if pictures of our children are posted in social media, facial recognition software will likely play a role in aiding bad actors to target kids on their way home from school, at the movies, or on the sports field. Stalking will be made much easier.

Application of faith

Sooner or later facial recognition software will become ubiquitous, just as smart phones have become standard equipment like a pair of shoes.  And so we and our children need to be prepared to apply our faith with regard to distinguishing between having access to knowledge and acting on it.

See related reading: Smarty pants computers do not possess wisdom

When I told my mother (83 years young) about this “name tag” app, she pondered: “Why in the world do we need to be searching for people we don’t know? Why don’t we simply focus on getting to know the people in our own community?”

Why indeed.

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. James 3:17

Are we asking ourselves the right questions about the role of technology? Are we even asking questions about whether it is wise to use an app and under what circumstances and for what purpose? How does your family make a decision to deploy devices and apps? Is there a protocol?

Stephane Come, founder of Kids 2.0 a non-profit dedicated to teaching kids and parents the value of technology.

Stephane Come is a tech savvy dad of two boys and founder of Kids 2.0 a non-profit dedicated to teaching kids and parents the value of technology.

Stephane Come of Orangevale, California is a tech savvy father of two boys, seven and nine years old. His older son Nicolas created a mobile app for kids healthy eating called “Nicolas’ Garden”.  Come founded a non-profit called Kid 2.0 (the website is not up at the time of this publication) to help parents and children learn to do technology projects together. They offer a very simple protocol:

“We do not limit the use of technology in our home. Rather, we channel it around projects and solving problems. Our children are allowed to use the computer to do school projects and create things,” he said. “We re-direct them to spend limited time using media because it is simply a way to entertain and pass the time of day.”

What to do?

Facial recognition apps like “Name Tag” present an opportunity to have great conversations with your children about the privacy issues associated with the internet, and review your house rules with respect to what apps are approved for use and related guidelines .

  • Start with a conversation about the difference between private and secret. Private is keeping personal information (age, sex, school, home address and interests) from the world so that you can be safe from nefarious and malicious influences. While a secret is something that cannot survive the light of day because it is not acceptable, i.e., exploitive, harmful or illegal.Truthfully, if I had a minor teen child today, I think I would insist on him using an avatar, rather than an actual photo for social media.  And college co-eds really need to be very vigilant.
  •  Make sure that you are keeping track of your privacy settings because they are dynamic. What you set up for your social media account last month, could have changed. Set up a Google alert on the topic of your social media apps, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. and stay current on the privacy changes.
  • Train your children about the way in which you are managing privacy.

Excellent resources for managing privacy settings


Joanna Jullien (Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien
(Photo: Christi Benz)

Joanna Jullien is an author, educator and speaker on strengthening the parent-child relationship in a cyber powered world. She a mother of two grown sons, the author of The Authority In Me: The Power of Family Life in the Network Culture, produces The Sacramento Cyber Safety Examiner column on Examiner.com, and is the CyberParenting advisor on The Fish 103.9FM. Her new book, A Google World in the Garden of Eden: Five Family-Safe Strategies for Texting and Social Media is now available for PC and all eReader formats including Kindle, Nook, iPad.


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About Joanna Jullien

Joanna Jullien

Joanna (jullien@surewest.net) and her husband have raised two sons in Roseville, CA. She has a degree from U.C. Berkeley in Social Anthropology (corporate culture). Her honors thesis was awarded the Kroeber Prize and funding from National Science Foundation grant. Joanna writes to help parents with the modern-day leadership challenges of raising children. She is a contributing writer for The Granite Bay View, the Press Tribune, the Sacramento Examiner, and editor of Banana Moments.