Want a thriving business? focus on youth privacy!

Dmitri Lytov

There is a prevailing concept that youth don’t care about privacy

I recently had the pleasure of participating in a session hosted by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada on Youth Privacy.  The Calgary school board’s Innovation and Learning Technologies initiative invited 150 students aged 5 to 21 to a workshop exploring how their generation understands privacy, how concerned they are about privacy, what they want in terms of privacy and how they would feel if their privacy was violated.
These students’ contributions dispelled the myth that the youth are not concerned with privacy. They listened to each other’s perspectives and educated their peers and younger students on how to protect their privacy on the internet. Children 6 and 8 years old told each other not to befriend someone they don’t know on the net, because “it could be a man 50 years of age pretending to be a 17 year old girl.” Financial fraud was on their minds as well.  They gave examples of fake games that could announce that they cost $2 and then charge $100.
A young student’s comment:

“Internet Privacy is like a safe that you think you have the only key to but actually some others can access it”

The group shared advice on password use, information sharing, the permanency of data on the net and possible impact on their careers, staying away from internet trolls, using partial names or pseudonyms, and other privacy protective measures. These were tech savvy kids: they knew about shared accounts and cloud services. They named a broad range of social and gaming media platforms. They could explain their families’ rules about social media accounts (many share accounts with their parents) and about buying applications. Many had multiple online accounts using different names.

At the same time, they admitted that they are dependent on gaming and social networks. They explained that engaging with these networks is what they do – it is embedded in their DNA and the way they think.

A 17-year-old panelist gave the following advice,

“Any time you want to click send, think the following: Will this post matter to my future employer and will it reflect who I am when I am trying to get my first job?”

I was pleasantly surprised by how privacy aware these youth are. The Calgary school board is currently studying the impact of privacy and how to introduce privacy into the curriculum. They need to be commended for that. Children and youth are immersed in online networks and they do care about their privacy. They need whatever tools we can give them to protect it.



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Senior Editor: Esther Townshend
Photo CreditDmitri Lytov
Copyright: All rights reserved , © Waël Hassan

About the Author:

Waël Hassan, PhD, is the editor in chief and lead writer of Transigram an online monthly magazine. Transigram explores legislative and regulatory changes, new technologies, and the needs and challenges of data custodians. We provide insight into the development of our approaches to open data access strategies and models. Transigram offers summaries, analyses, insights, and commentaries on business transformation in the areas of Governance, Risk & Compliance, Project & Portfolio Management, IT Strategy & Operations, and Technological Tool Management.

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