Data Protection Authorities (DPAs) produce educational materials addressed to children and teens, teachers, as well as parents since there is a great need to educate in the field of data and privacy protection. Furthermore, they work together with other organizations for this purpose. DPAs put educational materials on their websites, as well as disseminate them on the regional level. Unfortunately, this knowledge has been thus far disseminated only “passively”: there are little or no actions to educate children about privacy and data protection. Furthermore, such dissemination is currently limited to national or regional “silos”. Thus, also considering the borderless nature of the internet, there is a need for a common approach at the European level and for the development of common and effective teaching approaches. A unified set of teaching aids might help in this regard as nowadays the youth encounter more and more spying and data collecting devices and other new technology appliances which put the privacy of the most vulnerable–young people–at risk. Therefore, knowledge about effective protection of privacy and personal data is as important as it was never before.
During the 35th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners, DPAs adopted the Resolution on digital education for all where they have agreed that specific protection should be provided to minors with respect to digital technology. The commitment undertaken during the 35th International Conference, which is contained in the Resolution on digital education for all was an incentive to pay attention to the actions directed to schools.
Moreover, the Council of Europe aims to change the rules of the Convention 108 for the protection of individuals with regard to automatic processing of personal data. The Council of Europe plans to include in the document, an awareness raising role of DPAs as regards data protection. The role of DPAs in educating in the field of data protection is reiterated.
The concept of the project is based on the Poland-wide programme “Your data – your concern”, launched in Poland in 2009. The main objective of the programme is to introduce the issues of personal data protection in schools. The interest expressed by teachers in Poland as regards the programme has inspired the Polish DPA to transfer it to the European level. The project partners will benefit to the project with their input as far as their own already existing materials, knowledge and experience are concerned.
Activities of the project, aiming at raising awareness in schools in the European Union about data protection and privacy as well as giving teachers the necessary knowledge and materials by organising a two-day seminar and disseminating the gained information among school children, address the call priority “Data protection and privacy rights” (DATA) as reinforcing children’s protection of personal data in the online environment, raising awareness on the relevant issues and providing training on data protection. All these actions are included in the planned project.
The project’s aim is to actively reach out to schools, by organising a two - day semiar for teachers and involve them in the initiatives (contest) which will provide them and their pupils with an elevated view and understanding of data protection and privacy issues. Publishing educational materials or narrative teaching solely based on textbooks are no loger sufficient. New teaching methods which meet the needs of the students should be embedded to the curricula to develop an effective approach in data protection and privacy education. Creating personalized and real-world lesson scenarios can capture children's interest and enhance their engagement besides providing context around concepts and skills to help preparing them to use what they’ve learned in future situations. For that reason, this project is placing an emphasis on lesson scenarios based teaching approach and organising a contest to encourage the deployment of it.