Don't panic, it's your data! Teaching (better) privacy in European schools

Research & Education
re:publica 2015


Tomorrow’s European digital society must be educated today on the value of privacy and personal data protection. But how to do it effectively and without ridicule? Should kids and teens be told to stay away from the Internet, and learn to never share? Or should they rather go ahead believing in the force of privacy protection? A review of current educational practices, staging obsolete technologies, bizarre kid-friendly characters and a few horror movies, attempts to raise these questions.


Educating children and teens on the importance of privacy and personal data protection is relatively high on the agendas of policy makers and of the European privacy community. Schools, it is argued, play a crucial rule in enlightening the adults of tomorrow, too often confused by the questionable ‘privacy policies’ and ‘privacy settings’ of the services they use, and often unable to get any relevant guidance from parents that are fundamentally just as unaware of their rights as them, and typically even less comfortable with the latest socio-technological trends. But how to effectively elevate European youth to a higher degree of privacy awareness? And how to do it in a way that is not completely outmoded? How to get the message across despite the generational gap that separates the established privacy community and its moving, growing, clicking and over-sharing target audience? A panoramic review of initiatives currently in place in Europe shows disparate approaches. Between funny potato-like characters announcing to children that they are the real masters of their personal data, and threatening movies aiming to generate distrust of the net’s darkest side, the underlying message is actually sometimes simply unclear. This Talk will provide concrete examples of material developed for privacy education in Europe, questioning to which extent it effectively elevates children and teens into a better understanding of their rights, and of how to use them as minors today, and tomorrow as adults. Illustrated with a selection of videos, pictures, comics and slogans, it will put forward the question of whether approaches such as a simple classroom discussion or interactive theatre could be the best way to engage a productive, informative dialogue with teens and children. The presentation is based on extensive research conducted for the project ARCADES, Introducing Data Protection and Privacy Issues at Schools in the European Union.

Mittwoch, 6. Mai 2015 - 10:30 bis 11:00