How to teach young people to protect their privacy online

Protecting your privacy means above all not sharing too much information. Many young people on social media still tend to publish private information on their profiles, for example the name and address of their school or their phone number.  But nowadays, privacy and personal data protection are two essential elements. How can young people be educated about protecting their privacy online? 

Date 2022-06-09 Author Belgian Safer Internet Centre Section awareness Topic data privacy, media literacy/education, technical settings Audience children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and professionals
Young child pointing at open laptop in front of him
  • Profile accessibility assessment. Who can access what? The privacy settings allow you to set limits to the visibility of the profile. 
    • Check and explain to young people how to configure their privacy settings. 
    • Discuss with them the concept of online friendship. 
    • Draw connections with everyday life. Some people are closer to us than others, like in real life, and therefore have access to more information.  
  • Right to the image. Explain the importance of respecting this right. Everyone has the right to say whether they agree or not with a picture of them being published on social media. It can have an influence on their digital reputation. 

Beware, just because someone agrees to be photographed does not mean that they agree to have their picture published online, let alone being tagged in it. These are three very different authorisations. 

10 key guidelines for reflection from

  • Anything you post on the internet can be seen by anyone
  • Anything you publish on the internet can stay there forever
  • Don’t add just anyone to your friend list. 
  • Think before you fill in information on a new profile
  • Regularly update your privacy settings on social media. 
  • Use strong passwords and keep them secret. 
  • Log out when leaving an application. 
  • Post as little information as possible about your whereabouts
  • Always read the terms of use before creating a new profile.  
  • Always respect the privacy of others. Do not post any information, photos, or videos of other people without their consent. 

Find out more about the work and initiatives of the Belgian Safer Internet Centre or find similar information for Safer Internet Centres throughout Europe. On the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) platform, additional useful tools for parents, carers and teachers can be found in the resource repository and in the Guide to apps section

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