Parents Testing Their Children’s DNA Online

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Parents Testing Their Children’s DNA Online
Short Title There Is a Growing Interest in Genotyping Children Using Online Services
Location Global
Date January 2020

Taxonomy Increased Accessibility, Disclosure, Intrusion
Information Identifying, Medical and Health, Physical Characteristics
Threat Actors Parents who test their children's DNA online, Genetic testing companies, Open-source databases of DNA

Affected Children, who's parents test their DNA
High Risk Groups Children
Secondary Consequences Anxiety, Lost Opportunity

More and more often parents decide to test the DNA of their children online, using the services of companies like 23andMe.


There’s a growing interest in genotyping children. Parents decide to test the DNA of their children more and more often, using the services of direct-to-customer genetic testing companies like 23andMe. After the company returns the results, they then often use the services of databases like MyHeritage and GEDmatch hoping to learn more about the family’s genealogy. Sites like GEDmatch and others are “open-source databases” on which people freely share their DNA onlineIncreased Accessibility, usually in the hopes of finding long-lost relatives.

By sharing their children’s genetic information on public websites, parents are forever exposing their personal health data.Disclosure

Upon a finding that they are at high risk for a disease, children may face negative consequences in school, the workplace, and the insurance market — not to mention experience fear and anxiety about their impending fate.

When parents test their children’s DNA before they are old enough to truly consent, those children lose their right not to know certain information. This can be interpreted as Intrusion.

Risk Statistics

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