Kids learn to defend their data with new privacy game

OTTAWA, March 28, 2018 – A new game is coming to Canadian classrooms and homes, designed not just to entertain children but also to teach them how to protect their privacy. Data Defenders, produced by the not-for-profit digital literacy organization MediaSmarts, shows kids how ad brokers try to collect their personal information and offers strategies to keep that information private.

“As Canadians learn more about how companies collect and use their data, from influencing voting choices to selling products, they are increasingly worried about their privacy,” says Jane Tallim, Co-Executive Director of MediaSmarts. “But it’s not just adults who are at risk – marketers also target children, who are least equipped to protect themselves. That’s why Data Defenders is a timely tool to help teach important lessons about online privacy to kids”.

Using a tile-matching format familiar to children, the game seamlessly integrates educational content with fun activities. In the first round, children are offered the opportunity to earn more moves and improve their game score by answering questions about themselves – a common tactic of ‘free’ games and services that make money by collecting and selling user data. Unbeknownst to the players, by providing this information they are lowering their hidden privacy scores. In the second round, players have the opportunity to protect their privacy scores by completing quizzes about various privacy tools.

The online game is accompanied by parent and teacher guides and a lesson plan for grades 4 to 6 that further reinforces privacy learning. All materials, including the game, can be accessed free of charge on the MediaSmarts website at http://mediasmarts.ca/digital-media-literacy/educational-games/data-defenders-grades-4-6.

Data Defenders was made possible by financial contributions from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada.

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About MediaSmarts

MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. Its vision is that children and youth have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens. MediaSmarts offers hundreds of digital and media literacy resources for teachers, parents and librarians on its website.

Contact:
Liz Berman, Marketing and Communications Manager, MediaSmarts
613-224-7721, ext. 231, lberman@mediasmarts.ca