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Posted: August 31, 2019

Addressing digital privacy with young children

The games are fun, the message serious. In the digital age, children need to understand the value of their privacy and the importance of protecting their personal information online.

A new series of activity sheets released by the Office of the Privacy Commissioner for Canada and privacy authorities throughout the country aims to help teachers and parents start the important conversation about digital privacy with young children.

The series, which is aimed at students in grades 1 to 3, puts a privacy twist on familiar children’s games and activities, including “Privacy Snakes and Ladders” and a word jumble with privacy-related terms, outlined the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia in a media release.

Michael McEvoy, information and privacy commissioner for British Columbia, said the release comes at an opportune time, as parents and teachers prepare for the start of the new school year.

“Digital devices offer tremendous learning opportunities for young children; however, they also pose undeniable privacy and safety concerns,” said McEvoy. “That’s why digital literacy is so important and a critical aspect of this is starting the conversation about privacy as soon as possible.

“These activity sheets are a step in the right direction: fun, engaging activities that can get children thinking about privacy and their personal information – fundamental concepts that will only grow in importance throughout the rest of their lives.”

The latest release follows on from last year’s lesson plans prepared by the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) for British Columbia and other privacy authorities. The lesson plans, targeting students in grades 6 to 9, are available online.

Both the new activity sheets and the lesson plans are available in English and French.

The activity sheets include:

  • Privacy Snakes and Ladders is a twist on the classic children’s game that helps players learn how to make smart privacy choices by climbing up a ladder when they make a good decision or sliding down a snake because they have shared a password with a friend, for example: English version; French version.
  • Connect the Dots has kids complete the picture of a family with a checklist of rules they can use at home to practice good online privacy.
  • Learning About Passwords / Colour The Tablet challenges kids to create their own strong, eight-character password by filling in the blanks. It also asks them to draw a lock on a tablet, representing how password protects an electronic device.
  • Word Search introduces children to privacy vocabulary by having them comb through a puzzle to find words such as “post,” “click” and “footprint.”

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