New class resources will help empower young people to take control of their online privacy

The UK’s data protection regulator is helping children and young people understand the power of their personal data as they learn, play and socialise online.

The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has launched a suite of lesson plans and worksheets aimed at teaching primary and secondary school pupils how to protect their privacy online and how they can control what online companies and platforms know about them.

Emily Keaney, ICO’s Director of Regulatory Strategy said: “With children learning how to use an iPad before they can ride a bike, it’s crucial that they’re taught how to keep their personal data safe. These plans will ensure that the UK’s children are learning about the value of their name, where they live, what they like and where they go from the very start of their data journey.”

The resources explain what counts as personal data, how to protect it and how to keep it private on social media. They cover the curriculum in all parts of the UK and can be downloaded for free from the ICO website.

The resources form part of the ICO’s work on building awareness of the Children’s Code, a set of standards that online services must follow if they are likely to be accessed by children. That includes putting in place extra layers of protection for children’s data.

Ms Keaney said: “With the introduction of the Children’s Code last September, it’s more important than ever that teachers feel empowered to educate their pupils about the positives and negatives of sharing personal data with websites, apps and online services.

“We hope that these lesson resources will enable teachers to introduce these topics in the classroom, and begin the conversation around keeping safe online.”

The ICO will be producing more resources around the principles of the Children’s Code to ensure that young people know what to expect when they open an app, visit a website or play an online game.

For more information on the Children’s Code, please visit the dedicated website hub or email our Children’s Code team on childrenscode@ico.org.uk.

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