Asleep at the Switch: Schoolhouse Commercialism, Student Privacy, and the Failure of Policymaking

Digital technologies used in schools are increasingly being harnessed to amplify corporate marketing and profit-making and extend the reach of commercializing activities into every aspect of students’ school lives. In addition to the long-standing goal of providing brand exposure, marketing through education technology now routinely engages students in activities that facilitate the collection of valuable personal data and that socialize students to accept relentless monitoring and surveillance as normal.

This year’s 19th annual report on schoolhouse commercialism trends examines how technological advances, the lure of “personalization,” and lax regulation foster the collection of personal data and have overwhelmed efforts to protect children’s privacy.