Please join the Harvard Club of Long Island on Saturday, Feb. 8, at 1 p.m. at the Bryant Library, as we bestow our annual Distinguished Author Award to Leah A. Plunkett, who received her undergraduate and law degrees at Harvard.
Plunkett will speak about her book, “Sharenthood: Why We Should Think Before We Talk About Our Kids Online.” Dubbed a “must-read” by Wired Magazine, which describes how she “illuminates children’s digital footprints: the digital baby monitors, the daycare livestreams, the nurse’s office health records, the bus, and cafeteria passes recording their travel and consumption patterns—all part of an indelible dossier for anyone who knows how to look for it.”
The New Yorker noted that the book’s “most gripping moments come when she imagines scenarios that seem both far-fetched and when you think more deeply about the direction of technological innovation, a bit inevitable.”
Copies of “Sharenthood: Why We Should Think Before We Talk About Our Kids Online” will be available at the event on Feb. 8, for purchase and signing. The book delves into the dangers of sharing of children’s information on social media, apps, and websites—colloquially known as sharenting—which can have disastrous implications in the present and in years to come. By the time they turn five, Plunkett writes, the average child will have nearly 1,000 photos online, thanks to the adults in their lives, and there are few laws to protect the children’s privacy. She proposes solutions that balance the need to share with the need to stay safe.
Plunkett got her start in law and writing as a Climenko Fellow at Harvard Law School. Early in her career, she practiced as a legal aid lawyer with New Hampshire Legal Assistance. There, she founded the Youth Law Project, which represents children and teens in special education, school discipline, and related cases. She then worked at the National Consumer Law Center, which is concerned with helping citizens as they buy houses, shop for cars and make other household investments.
She is now an associate dean and associate professor at the University of New Hampshire Franklin Pierce School of Law. She also directs the law school’s Academic Success program. In Cambridge, she is a faculty associate with the Youth and Media team at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, a research center.