Archive for the ‘Youth Privacy’ Category

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.

30 Apr 2012

Privacy Awareness Week 2012: Privacy Resources for Young People

Young people today are sophisticated users of the Internet, using this medium with ease and enthusiasm. It is important that they understand the impact that these technologies can have on their privacy, and that they have the tools and information they need to make smart decisions.

That’s why the Asia Pacific Privacy Authorities (APPA) forum, which includes the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, has made Privacy Resources for Young People the theme of Privacy Awareness Week 2012, April 29 – May 5.

Since 2008 our Office has been developing a variety of tools designed to teach young people about the relevance and importance of privacy when using modern technologies. The OPC has a Privacy Awareness Week 2012 web page with links to all of our privacy resources for youth, parents and educators, as well as links to privacy resources for youth developed by members of the APPA forum, at:

If you would like more information on youth privacy, or to stay informed regarding our tips and tools for parents, educators and youth, visit the Office’s youth website at:

You can also visit for links to a wide variety of international privacy guidance including tips, animations, brochures, discussion topics and interactive website materials.

We also encourage you to follow us on twitter: @privacyprivee, Privacy Awareness Week: #2012PAW.

29 Mar 2012

2011-2012 Youth Video Contest: The Results Are In!

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada would like to extend tremendous thanks to all of the students, teachers and schools who participated in our myprivacy & me national video contest this year.

We would also like to express sincere thanks to Encounters with Canada, and the teens participating in its Politics in Canada week, who selected our winners.

Winning Videos:

The top video artists in the Privacy Issues Related to Cybersecurity category were:

1st place: Brooke Davis and Alyssa Lynn of Hillcrest High School, Ottawa, ON, with a video titled “Your Online Life.”

The top video artists in the Privacy Issues Related to Mobile Devices category were:

1st place: Matt Paddison and Julian Figueroa of Chatelech Secondary School, Sechelt, BC, with a video titled “Your Phone is Your Everything.”

2nd place: Fumina Takara and Maryam Hashim of Hillcrest High School, Ottawa, ON, with a video titled “Mobile Information.”

The top video artists in the Privacy Issues Related to Online Gaming category were:

1st place: Benjamin Reyes and Zachary Spence of Canterbury High School, Ottawa, ON, with a video titled “Credit and Safety.”

2nd place: Mason Wik and Pierce Thomson of F.R. Haythorne Junior High, Sherwood Park, AB, with a video titled “Game Over.”

The top video artists in the Privacy Issues Related to Social Networking category were:

1st place: Pamela Khouri and Hannah Chan of Collège Jean de la Mennais, La Prairie, QC, with a video titled “Unknown Exposure.”

2nd place: Wajid Jawid Ahmad and Dawut Esse of Centre d’action bénévole Bordeaux-Cartierville, Montreal, QC, with a video titled “Spoken Words Are Fleeting… Written, They Remain.”

3rd place: Katie Fitzgerald of Lorne Akins Junior High School, St. Albert, AB, with a video titled “Words Have Life.”

Congratulations to all of our winners!

26 Jan 2012

Is your child savvy online? Check out our 12 quick privacy tips for parents.

It can be tough raising kids in a digital environment. Many of them use the Internet effortlessly, and easily adapt to new devices that connect to it. For many of us, these tools have become a routine part of our children’s lives, as they use them to chat, surf, post, play and learn. The Internet has become one of the most powerful tools they have to connect with friends and make new ones.

Many kids, however, don’t fully understand the impact that some online activities may have on their privacy. The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada has come up with a new tip sheet that offers 12 practical tips for parents interested in discussing online privacy with their kids. The tips include simple ideas and advice that parents may use to limit risks to their child’s personal information, while allowing them to continue enjoying their time online.

Here is a quick list of the tips. Look at the tip sheet for detailed information on each tip!

  1. Talk to your kids.
  2. Try it out.
  3. Keep up with the technology.
  4. Make restricting privacy settings a habit.
  5. Make password protection a priority.
  6. Emphasize the importance of protecting mobile devices.
  7. Remind your kids that what they post on the Internet is not always private.
  8. Teach your kids to think before they click.
  9. Stress the importance of knowing your real friends.
  10. Teach your kids that their personal information is valuable.
  11. Let your kids know that you are there if they make a privacy mistake.
  12. Set a good example.

These tips were launched this week as part of our Office’s week-long campaign leading up to Data Privacy Day. For more information on the Office’s Data Privacy Day activities and resources, go to

For more information on talking to your kids about how their use of technology can affect privacy, visit

24 Jan 2012

New Tips and Tools to Help Your Young Internet Users Protect Their Privacy Online

We all know how savvy kids are with the Internet and online tools. Many of them are way ahead of adults in adapting to new technologies, making it difficult to keep up with them – let alone educate them on online privacy.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is here to help. Today, we launched a new video, tip sheet and presentation package  for youth in grades 7 and 8 (Secondary I and II in Quebec) that will help parents and teachers talk to youth about the importance of protecting their privacy online.

The new video speaks to teens and ‘tweens alike, and covers the key privacy concepts kids need to consider when sharing information online. The video may be viewed online or downloaded to support discussion.

The new tip sheet offers 12 practical tips for parents interested in discussing online privacy with their kids. The tips include simple ideas and advice that parents may use to limit risks to their children’s personal information, while allowing them to continue enjoying their time online.

The Grades 7 and 8 presentation package is the latest release in the Office’s Protecting Your Online Rep presentation series. The package includes slides, speaking notes and discussion topics for use by educators and community leaders to speak with young people about online privacy. The new presentation offers much of the practical privacy advice found in the presentation package for grades 9 to 12, which our Office launched last fall, only the graphics and speaking notes have been tailored to the social realities and online activities of younger students.

These tools are being launched this week as part of our Office’s week-long campaign leading up to Data Privacy Day. For more information on the Office’s Data Privacy Day activities and resources, go to

5 Oct 2011


It’s World Teacher Day – the day that we celebrate those who spend their days nurturing minds and hearts in the communities that we share.

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada thanks you for your long days, your hard work, but most of all, your enthusiasm.

To support your efforts, we’ve developed free educational resources to help you address the important issue of privacy with your students. These resources include:

  • a presentation for students in grades 9 to 12* about online privacy and ways they can protect their online reputations;
  • a video contest for your school to host, where 12- to 18-year-old students create short videos telling us what they think about privacy; and
  • lesson plans developed by the Media Awareness Network (MNet), which will enable you to engage students in thinking about and discussing privacy issues.

For more information, visit our youth website at

*Presentations for grades 7 and 8 and grades 4 to 6 will be available at the same link later this year.

26 Sep 2011

Privacy: Let’s see what they think!

We’re launching our fourth annual My Privacy & Me Video Contest, where students aged 12 to 18 show us what they have to say about privacy.

To participate, we’re asking them to create their own video public service announcements about privacy issues related to any one of these four categories:

  • mobile devices;
  • social networking;
  • online gaming; or
  • cybersecurity.

All contest details can be found here.

Entries must be submitted by teams of one or two people. Schools may submit up to 10 different videos. (If a school has more than 10 videos to submit, we suggest a contest be held within the school to select the 10 best submissions for this contest).

First-place winners in each category will receive a $350 gift card, second-place winners will receive a $200 gift card, and third-place winners will win a $100 gift card. The deadline is Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2012 at noon ET.

For inspiration, we encourage teams to watch the 2010 winning videos. Then, power up their video cameras, and show us what they have to say!

9 Sep 2011

OPC Unveils New Youth Privacy Tool

The Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is launching a new youth privacy tool that will help teachers and community leaders talk with younger Canadians about their privacy online.

The tool launched today is called Protecting Your Online Rep and comes right in time for back-to-school. It offers people who work with youth all the information necessary to provide an engaging and effective presentation in their own school or community.

The package includes a PowerPoint presentation with detailed speaking notes for each slide, along with class discussion topics, for Grades 9 to 12 (Secondary III to V in Quebec). Educators and others interested in delivering the presentation can find the package here.

The goal of the new tool is to teach young people that technology can affect their privacy, and to show them how to build a secure online identity and keep their personal information safe.

Link to news release

8 Aug 2011

Insights on Privacy – Youth Privacy

Do youth care about privacy? We will explore this question on September 8, 2011, when our Office holds its next Insights on Privacy armchair discussion.  We have invited two experts on young people’s use of social media, Kate Raynes-Goldie (@oceanpark) and Matthew Johnson (@MFJ72) to talk about what privacy means to youth and how we can help youth preserve their privacy by promoting digital literacy skills.

Kate Raynes-Goldie is completing her PhD in the Department of Internet Studies at Curtin University of Technology. Her current research explores Facebook privacy issues by combining a study of the ideologies that drive the site’s privacy architecture with a nuanced look at user understandings and practices. Kate is also a Research Associate at Ryerson University’s EDGE Lab, where she is researching privacy, autonomy and social media for children.  She is the founder of PrivacyCampTO, Canada’s first privacy unconference. 

As Director of Education with Media Awareness Network, Matthew Johnson creates resources for educators, parents and community groups. He is the designer of MNet’s comprehensive digital literacy tutorials Passport to the Internet (Grades 4-8) and MyWorld (Grades 9-12). Matthew also writes the Talk Media blog, one of the most popular sections of the MNet Web site.  He has given presentations and interviews to parents, school, community and industry groups on topics such as the effect of media violence on children, video game addiction, alcohol advertising, children’s use of new media and the moral dimensions of computer games.

This event is the fifth in a series hosted by the OPC to shed light on experts doing new and thought-provoking work in the field of privacy.

To participate:

We are inviting full participation in this discussion. For those of you who attend the session in person, we will be asking for questions from the audience as well as inviting you to tweet the content using the #privtalks hashtag.

If you are unable to attend the session in person, and would like the speakers to address a particular aspect of this topic, please send your question to by September 2nd and we will try to incorporate it in the issues we cover.

The video of this event will be made available after the presentation, as we’ve done for previous Speakers Series events.

Space is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Please RSVP before September 6th, 2011. Simultaneous interpretation for both official languages will be available.

When: 2:00-4:00 p.m. Thursday, September 8, 2011
Where: Minto Suites Hotel, 185 Lyon Street North, 2nd Floor, Salon Vanier/Stanley


20 Jul 2011

Young Canadians in a Wired World – Phase III is Here!

The Media Awareness Network, benefactor of the Office of the Privacy Commissioner’s Contributions Program, has launched the third Phase (Phase III) of its ongoing study, Young Canadians in a Wired World (YCWW). This third phase is a crucial element to the project, as it will shed a more distinct light on the need for online education resources in classrooms and communities.

The study is the most comprehensive and wide-ranging study of youth internet use in Canada. The project tracks and investigates the behaviours, attitudes, and opinions of Canadian children and youth with respect to their use of the Internet. There have been two previous phases over seven years. The first comprised of telephone interviews with parents, focus groups with parents and children and quantitative research findings from a national school-based survey of 5,682 students in grades 4 – 11. The second stage includes qualitative research findings from focus groups with parents and young people aged 11 – 17, and quantitative research findings from a national school-based survey of 5,272 students from grades 4 – 11. You can find more information on these first two phases here.

MNet’s research has gathered a wealth of information about the online activities of Canadian youth, and has raised a number of privacy issues that require society’s attention. Perhaps most importantly, the research has highlighted the importance of education as a key response in helping young people make smart and informed online decisions, as well as stay safe online.

The third phase in MNet’s research will help inform public policy and support the development of relevant digital literacy resources for Canadian homes, schools, and communities. MNet has already begun implementing the new research through various interviews and focus groups. Phase III of the research project is scheduled to be completed in 2012, finishing with a nation-wide field study of a representative sample of Canadian students and teachers.

Stay tuned for more updates about this exciting endeavour.

For more information, please contact Francois Cadieux at