Internet Safety for Kids – Episode 2 – Privacy and social media

Hi, welcome to Internet Safety for Kids and thank you for joining our program!

As always with our program Internet Safety for Kids, please make sure to watch this episode together when possible, so you all learn and understand these important topics. Don’t allow the adults to say that they already know everything because there will be plenty to learn for them, too!

We have a very interesting topic for you today. Privacy and Social Media and we will explain how you can take care of your own privacy, but also of the privacy of others.

We will explain why is it important, what does it mean, and what should you do. Are you with us?

Let us start with explaining what privacy means. Are you ready?

Imagine that you have to go to the toilet. The big thing. You know what I mean. So, it will take a bit longer. There is a toilet. But there is a problem with that toilet. It is in the middle of the street. Everyone could see you. And there are people everywhere. And everyone is looking at you. And there are cameras. And they are all recording. Would you use that toilet?

I think you will not. Because you do not want that everyone can watch you when you use the toilet. And you do not want cameras that record you when you use the toilet. No, that is not what you want. What you want is a toilet where nobody can see you. And no cameras. A toilet with walls and a door that you can close. You may even check if the door is locked so nobody can come in. I know I always check if the door is locked!

By using a toilet that you can lock where nobody can see you or disturb you, you are creating privacy for yourself. I hope that helps you understand what privacy means. But privacy is not just something that you want. Privacy is something that everyone wants. In fact, privacy is a human right according to the United Nations. And that means, that every person has the right to have privacy.

In short, privacy means that you and everybody else, has the right to decide what other people can see or know. That also means that we have to take care of our own privacy and take care of the privacy of other people. In other words, we should not decide what is known or seen about other people. They should decide that themselves, just like we should do.

Easier said than done once we start to pay attention to privacy. Let us say for example that you take a selfie and want to share that with friends or on social media. But when you look at the picture you took, you see that there are other people visible in the background. So, this means it is not just a picture of yourself. It is a picture of you, and of other people.

When you now share this picture with your friends or share it on social media, you share a picture of yourself and of other people. But you do not know if they want that, do you? Maybe they do not want to be seen on a picture. They have the right to not want to be seen on a picture. It is their right to privacy, just like you and everyone else has that right.

What should you do in this example? How can you share your selfie and respect the privacy of people seen on that picture?

There are many things you could do. You could try to use the crop function to simply cut these people from your picture. Some apps allow you to blur parts of the picture and you could use that to make sure that the people in your picture can not be recognized. A fun trick is to place emojis over their faces. Or you could take another selfie and make sure that there are no other people in that picture. How about that?

I bet you did not always think about that when you shared a picture, right? Keep in mind that this is just an example of how we have to take care of privacy, and we have to do that with everything we share. So, make sure to always check before you share. Is there someone else in my picture? Am I sharing information about other people? Are they OK with this? Because there can be many great pictures, for example with your friends, where everybody agrees and there is no problem at all with sharing that picture. Privacy does not mean you can never share anything. It just means you have to make sure it is OK.

Are you ready to have a look at social media and privacy? I bet you already use some social media apps and really like it. For example TikTok or Snapchat. Maybe you use WhatsApp to text and call with your friends and family. It would not surprise me at all when you use some apps I have never heard of.

Social media apps and privacy is a little bit complicated. Let me try to explain that with the example of a picture. You have a great time with your friends, take some pictures, and post them on your favorite social media app. Now other people can see the pictures. Maybe they like the pictures or write some comments. So far so good, right?

With some apps only the people you have accepted as connections can see the pictures. With other apps everyone can see them. That depends on the apps, of course. But that is not where our example ends. People could take screenshots of the pictures and you do not know what they do with it, right? Maybe they just keep it on their device, or maybe they share it with others. So, when you have restricted who can see your pictures, it still does not mean that for example a screenshot is send to someone you do not know. The same of course also applies to messages, not just to pictures.

And that is not the only reason why you should think twice before you share pictures or information on social media apps. The thing is that the social media apps collect a lot of information about you, and they use that for example to send advertisements to you. Some social media apps try to recognize people in pictures. Some even ask you to identify people in pictures. They also try to read the location from where you took or shared that picture. You can even add that in many apps.

When we do not think about privacy, that all sounds like a lot of fun. But as soon as we think about privacy, you should really think about what you share and if it is respecting the privacy of yourself and others. Here are some rules to help you decide what you should share and what not.

  • Do not share personal information like full names, addresses, birthdates, phone numbers.
  • Do not share pictures of others without them knowing it and saying it is OK.
  • Do not share exact locations. Tip: do not allow your camera app to read the GPS.
  • Always keep in mind that what is OK to you might not be OK to other people. Better ask first before you share it. In short, do not put others on the toilet in the middle of the street.
  • We have explained privacy and social media.
  • Privacy is the right to decide what other people know and see about you.
  • Other people also have the right to privacy and we all have to take care of it.
  • We have to pay extra attention to respecting each other’s privacy on social media.

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