Education International
Education International

Canada: Students across Quebec learn lessons in online privacy

published 7 November 2012 updated 12 November 2012

On 5 November, schools across Quebec joined an event hosted by Laurier Macdonald High School in Montreal, to launch Media Literacy Week 2012. Students had the opportunity to talk with a panel of experts about online privacy as part of this year’s theme Privacy Matters.

The week, which runs until 9 November, is hosted by MediaSmarts, a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy, and the Canadian Teachers’ Federation (CTF), one of EI’s national affiliates.

The privacy panel included participants from Google Canada, Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada and University of Ottawa. The discussion was broadcast to over 33 schools across the province through Community Learning Centres.

Educators must teach students how to control private information

CTF President Paul Taillefer noted that the private self and public self of today’s youth have become increasingly intertwined.

“Our role as educators is to help them open their eyes and use their judgment to stay in control of their personal information and ultimately their reputations,” he said.

“EI acknowledges that new social media present ways of communicating across different cultures,” explained EI General Secretary Fred van Leeuwen.

Media are crucial to build a world based on equality, democracy and solidarity

He also stressed that teachers realise that these media are an important tool to build a world based on equality, democracy and solidarity: “In the classroom, social media can help humanity move forward by connecting students and teachers at different geographical locations. These tools should be used to teach students the value of different cultures, by stimulating language learning and intercultural exchange.”

The EI Policy Paper on Education: Building the Future through Quality Education, adopted at the EI 6th World Congress held in 2011, further states that “social media have been harnessed to bring democracy to places previously ruled by dictatorship and corruption. Education unions embrace these as powerful means to connect with their members.”

It underlines that social media can strengthen democracy within unions, providing new forms of discussion and consultation. They can be important tools to strengthen involvement, as members can be more engaged directly in the development of the union’s strategies, activities and services. Furthermore, they facilitate new forums of cooperation between unions and the wider civil society.

Media Literacy Week has the support of over 60 organisations, including Gold Sponsors Bell and YouTube, and Silver Sponsor TELUS. Privacy resources for parents, teachers and youth can be found on the Media Literacy Week website

Video on Privacy Matters! Youth, Identity and Online Sociability: