Privacy Pursuit: My Privacy, Your Privacy Lesson Plan

Grades: 7-8

Duration: 1 to 1 ½ hours

About the Author: Matthew Johnson, Director of Education, MediaSmarts

This lesson plan was developed by MediaSmarts for the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario, to be used with the IPC's Privacy Pursuit! activity booklet.

This lesson is part of USE, UNDERSTAND & ENGAGE: A Digital Media Literacy Framework for Canadian Schools.


In this lesson, students start by considering the permanence of online content. They review privacy strategies and privacy risks and analyze how likely and severe different privacy risks are. They then consider how their actions and decisions can affect others’ privacy and develop a list of “Dos and Don’ts” for managing both their own and others’ privacy.

Learning Outcomes

Students will understand the following key concepts/big ideas:

Digital media are networked

  • Information on a connected network can reach any part of that network

Digital media are shareable and persistent

  • Once you post something it can stay online or be shared forever and can be copied, altered, and used in ways you don’t like

Interactions through digital media can have a real impact

  • Our actions and decisions online can affect our and others’ privacy

Digital media experiences are shaped by the tools we use

  • Design features of apps and platforms can influence use to share more online

Students will learn the following essential domain knowledge:

Privacy and Security:

  • Privacy risks include scams, embarrassment, hurting people’s feelings, cyberbullying and threats to property or personal safety
  • Taking proactive steps to manage your privacy can limit privacy risks
  • Be careful what personal information you share online
  • Privacy settings can control who sees what you post
  • Passwords are an important tool to protect your privacy
  • Trusted adults are important resources for help-seeking before and after privacy risks occur
  • Don’t click on unknown links or download files from unknown senders
  • It’s important to understand how Terms of Service and Privacy Policies affect your privacy when using an app or service

Ethics and Empathy

  • What you do online can also affect other people’s privacy

Reading Media

  • Design features of apps and platforms can influence users to share more online

Students will learn how to:

  • Use: Manage privacy risks by proactively employing privacy strategies
  • Understand:
    • Analyze the privacy risks of different devices, apps and online activities
    • Analyze the design features of a media tool
  • Engage: Develop principles and guidelines for making good choices about others’ privacy

Personal Data Protection Competencies:

Personal Data:

  • I understand what is involved in the concept of personal data, defined as any data—whether or not it was made public—about an identifiable individual
  • I know and understand the concept of pseudonymity and masking one’s identity
  • I can give examples of personal data that can directly identify individuals (civil status, photo of a student in the class, etc.) and technical data that can monitor the activities of a person and identify them (cookies, geolocation data, etc.)

Privacy, Civil Liberties and Protection of Personal Data

  • I understand how my actions may affect the privacy of others
  • I understand how the protection of privacy is not just about everyone’s private life, but can also be applied in the public space, particularly on the internet

Understanding the Digital Environment

  • I know what the internet and its services are (social networks, mobile applications, the cloud, etc.)
  • I know the key IT risks; I know the importance of digital security and understand the need to ensure the physical and logical security of a digital environment.
  • I know that there are ways to protect myself online

Managing my Data

  • I know that, to use certain online services, my consent of the consent of my parents/legal guardians is required
  • I use procedures available to protect my personal data

This lesson and all associated documents (handouts, overheads, backgrounders) are available in an easy-print, pdf kit version.

Privacy Pursuit! Activity Booklet