So, there is a lot of information about there.  But what, realistically, can a teacher do in the classroom with all this information?  Besides standing up the front of the room and banging on about the importance of respecting others and not sharing passwords, teachers need activities designed to actively show students exactly what online privacy means, and concrete ways of embedding this information into their teaching.


Many resources are available on teaching young people how to protect their privacy, including:
  1. Stay Smart Online: Which includes an interactive E-Security Education Package called budd-e for both primary and secondary students.  Each section of the budd-e program can be used for an individual lesson (30 minutes) on that topic.
  2. Private i: A privacy survival guide for youth put out by the Australian government Privacy Commissioner.  It includes an animated video (more suitable for secondary students) called Think Before you Upload.  Each section of the video is also displayed on a poster, which can be used as a basis for individual lessons on that topic.
  3. Cybersmart: Includes resources and tips for young people on monitoring their digital footprint (the images and thoughts they post online).

The resources above provide some information on respecting the privacy of others, but in general are more geared towards personal protection of privacy.

Values education resources can provide a framework for teaching respect, including:
  1. Values Education for Australian Schooling:  Australian Curriculum Support website for Values Education
  2. Values Based Education: As promoted by Dr Neil Hawkes and colleagues
  3. Values Education in NSW Schools: Document and information put out by the NSW DET
  4. The Virtues Project: Supporting the moral development of all people, calling them to live by their highest values.  The Virtues Project: Educator's Guide by Linda Popov (2000) is a wonderful book filled with ideas and activities on promoting values education in the classroom and school. 

Learning Activities

Gaining Permission
Teach students how to physically gain permission from people before taking or sharing photographs or videos of them.  As a class project, students are to create a mural (physical or digital) of the students at the school.  During morning tea or lunch, one student per day takes a camera and takes candid shots of the students at play.  Before (or directly after) taking the photo, the student must gain permission of the subjects being photographed.  Before the photos can be publicly displayed, each person who was photographed must have the chance to view photos of them, and approve or reject them.

Role Plays
Students explore their values and emotions by role playing various scenarios, such as
  • Finding themselves the laughingstock of the whole school
  • How they would feel if their privacy had been breached
  • Confronting the people who breached their privacy, what they might say to them

Creative Writing
Students write a narrative on the topic of privacy.  Scenarios could include writing from the victim's or the perpetrator's perspective or in the third person, someone's privacy being breached by a hacker or by their best friend, etc.

Newspapers and Magazines
Explore newspapers or magazines (or when using them for projects, collages, etc) discuss how the photographers have to get permission from their subjects before being able to publish the photos (or at least the ethical ones do).

Privacy Scenario Discussions
The book, Learning right from wrong in the digital age by Doug Johnson (2003) is a great resource for teaching students about ethical behaviour and computers, including privacy and property.  The privacy section includes 12 scenarios to discuss in class on protecting your own privacy and respecting the privacy of others.