Information privacy is an important policy and social consideration.
We don’t always hear the clock ticking when we’re online and young people are no exception. Between doing research for homework, talking with friends, updating social networking pages and playing games, it’s easy to see how kids and teens might lose track of time. Excessive Internet use, however, can negatively affect young people’s school work, health and social lives. Unfortunately, adults don’t usually discover this problem until it’s become serious.
Digital media such as the Internet and video games have become increasingly important in the lives of children and youth. Even when young people are consuming other media, such as TV, music and movies, they are likely to be doing it through the Internet. As well, nearly all the media they consume, from TV shows to toys, have Web pages, virtual worlds, video games or other digital spinoffs associated with them.
The word surveillance comes from the French verb “surveiller”, which, when translated, means “to watch over”.  Sociologist and surveillance scholar David Lyon defines surveillance as “any collection and processing of personal data, whether identifiable or not, for the purposes of influencing or managing those whose data have been garnered”.  Increasingly, information gathering and surveillance technologies are becoming more and more common as part of everyday life and routines. 
Children and youth who use the Internet are highly attuned to surveillance practices.  Research conducted by MediaSmarts demonstrates that for young Canadians surveillance is part of everyday life. While youth once considered the Internet to be a private space where they and their peers could play, communicate, and experiment, these attitudes have largely disappeared: on the contrary, youth now regard the Internet as a completely monitored space.  This surveillance of youth is primarily conducted by parents, teachers/schools, and corporations.
Children and youth are a huge potential market for corporations.
There is a common misconception that youth are not concerned with privacy. On the contrary, though, there is significant evidence to suggest that privacy is a major concern among youth, particularly when it comes to their actions online.  As a result of this concern, young Canadians have developed a wide range of techniques to resist surveillance or negotiate their own privacy.
Contrary to the popular beliefs of many adults, youth do care about their privacy.
It’s tempting for parents to act authoritatively and lay down the law on the number of hours their kids can spend on the computer. But in order to effectively address excessive use, there needs to be an active, voluntary commitment on the part of the young person to control their behaviour. Otherwise, kids will just find ways to work around their parents – and be left to their own devices once they’re old enough to leave the house.
Social networking is one of the most popular online activities in Canada. In fact, according to the Canada Online! study, 40 per cent of all Canadians use a social networking site. Facebook is the most popular of these sites by a long shot, with over seven million active Canadian members.