A tour of high schools found many young people do not protect their online privacy
Young people do not take online privacy seriously according to a government tour that discusses cybersecurity in high schools. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
MONTREAL -- Intimate photos and videos broadcast throughout the school following the a couple's breakup. Passwords shared with friends to demonstrate confidence. Posts on social media visible to thousands of 'friends'.
Young people's privacy is sometimes nothing private and concerns the Quebec Commission d’acces a l’information (CAI) which relaunched its cybersecurity tour of secondary schools called 'Ce que tu publies, penses-y' this month.
The program coordinator, Isabelle Gosselin, was emphatic in an interview with The Canadian Press: school-aged children do not protect their privacy.
Despite previous campaigns and tours, the CAI feels it must hammer its message home again and again.
Proof of the extent of the problem, according to Gosselin, is that three out of four students raise their hands when asked if they share passwords with friends.
"And they are pretty proud to do it," she said adding that for teenagers, it is often a proof of friendship or love. Proof that cannot be done otherwise.
"It's really fashionable," she explained. "And often, young people stubbornly say: 'Don't you think you're exaggerating, madam? It does not matter.'"
The government organization wants to encourage young Internet users to adopt safe and responsible behaviour, particularly in the area of privacy and respect for privacy.
Gosselin said that for the last five years, principals and teachers have reported managing a lot of cases because of social media.
The year-round tour goes to high schools across Quebec. During the visits, students attend a conference.
The one-hour presentation includes concrete examples from real-life experiences, sometimes even in their own school to make them aware that it does not only happen to others in other cities or countries, said Gosselin noting that the goal is also to educate those who feel invincible.
Discussions involve issues related to identity theft, sexting, geolocation and privacy settings.
In the last two school years, the program has reached more than 32,000 students.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 13, 2019.