Creating online privacy awareness among our children

June 22, 2018 - Melanie Coyle, Analyst

I have to admit, my kids were born with tablets in their hands. I remember nostalgically wiping baby drool off the iPad as they played gleefully with the Baby Finger app. Earlier this week, I had trouble getting us out the door one morning because they were entranced by Plants vs. Zombies. As punishment, a 24 hour ban of all electronics was decreed. The rest of the week, the kids have practically been ready and waiting at the door before I was ready. That consequence is clearly powerful.

But they are getting older and more confident. As they start to read, write and become more independent using apps and the Internet (and sometimes more knowledgeable than me), I have realized it is time to start teaching them about the dangers of the online world and instilling the importance of protecting their personal information.

The heads of all federal, provincial and territorial privacy protection authorities, including our office, recently called for privacy education to become a greater priority by including it as a clear and concrete component in digital literacy curricula across the country.

As a project led by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, partnered with MediaSmarts, a series of lesson plans have been developed for the use of teachers in Canada to help youth learn about privacy. They can be found here: https://www.priv.gc.ca/en/opc-news/news-and-announcements/2018/an_180618/.

So, if you know of any teachers preparing for a well-deserved summer holiday, maybe mention that these would make great summer reading… ok, maybe fall reading!

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