During this workshop, participants explore what kinds of personal information should be kept private. It is important to remember that everyone deserves to have their privacy decisions respected. They will also identify the types of personal information that can be found online. This resource forms part of the “Cyber Heros” learning programme designed for 8 to 14 year olds.
Preparation time for facilitator
Time needed to complete activity (for learner)
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- Understand what kinds of personal information should be kept private
- Remember that everyone deserves to have their privacy decisions respected
Why does privacy matter?
Your digital footprint is what represents you online. This could mean photos, audio, videos, texts, “likes,” and comments you post on friendsʼ profiles. Just like it’s important to be a positive presence offline (like at school), it’s important to keep it positive online too. The Internet makes it easy to communicate with family, friends, and people who love the same things that you do. We send messages, share photos, and join conversations on social networks – sometimes without thinking about who else can see them too. A picture or post you think is funny and harmless today could be seen and misunderstood by people you never thought would see it – now or way off in the future. Once somethingʼs out there, it’s hard to take it back.
• Like everything else on the Internet, your digital footprint could be seen
by people you’ve never met.
• Once something by or about you is online, it could be there forever. Think of this like you’d think about a permanent marker: The marks
it makes can never be erased, even if you realize you meant to write something else.
Thatʼs why your privacy matters. You can protect it by sharing only things that youʼre sure you want to share – in other words, by being careful about what you post and share online. Why else might privacy be important?
It’s also good to know when to post nothing at all – not to react to somebody’s post, photo, or comment or not to share something that
isn’t true. Everybody’s heard “think before you post,” and that’s because it’s really good advice. The way to respect your own and other people’s privacy is to think about what’s okay to post, who might see your post, what effect it could have on you and others, and when not to post anything at all
Some questions for further discussion (these questions can also go home with students for follow-up family discussions):
• When is it okay to share a photo or video of someone else?
• Why are secrets so hard to keep?
• Is it ever okay to tell someone else’s secret?
• What about if they’re someone you care about and they’re posting something that makes you feel they’re in danger? If you think you
should share that secret, should you tell them you’re thinking about that before doing anything? Should they know you’re worried?
1. Make up a secret
First, everyone should think of a pretend secret (not a real one).
2. Tell your partner
Okay, got your secrets? Now letʼs all pair up, share your secret with your partner, and discuss these three questions:
• Would you share this secret with anyone?
• With whom would you share your secret and why?
• How would you feel if someone told everyone your secret without your permission?
3. Tell the class
Finally, each student will tell the class their pretend secret and how they felt about sharing it. The class can discuss their answers to the questions just above.
Secrets are just one type of personal information that we might want to keep private or share only with trusted family or friends. Once you’ve
shared a secret, you’re no longer fully in control of where it can go. What other kinds of information should we be careful to protect?
• Your home address and phone number
• Your email
• Your passwords
• Your usernames
• Your schoolwork and other documents you create