5 Jun 2012

Evolving technologies creating new privacy risks for youth


Image of children speaking on cell phones

Young people are embracing new digital communication technologies at earlier and earlier ages.  While they recognize the importance of protecting their privacy, they’re often not aware of the potential privacy risks that can accompany these novel technologies.

A recent study found that a third of North American Gen-Y moms (aged 18 to 27) let their children use a laptop by age two. According to the Joan Ganz Center in New York, by age three, those laptops and tablets are connected to the Internet daily for about a quarter of U.S. kids. By age five, the proportion online soars to half.

But what is being done to educate these children to the privacy risks they face when they use online games, applications, social networks, mobile devices and geo-location?  

It’s critically important to empower our children to make well-informed decisions in this increasingly complex online environment.

In our 2011 Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act Annual Report, tabled today, the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada focuses on children and youth privacy.

The report outlines our recent work on the issue, including our first investigation of a youth-oriented social networking site; investigations of three complaints against Facebook; as well as an investigation into a complaint about a daycare’s use of webcam monitoring.


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