Personal data protection as a basis for staying safe online
Personal data protection as a basic form of shaping attitudes among children and young people in favour of safe surfing on the Internet and using its resources was a subject of a speech by Marta Mikołajczyk, coordinator of the nationwide educational program "Your data ‒ Your concern", during the seminar entitled "The impact of online activity on the student's image in the real world".
The event took place on March 24, 2022, and its organiser was the Radom Teacher Training Centre. The seminar was organised for teachers implementing the Personal Data Protection Office’s educational program, educators and teachers interested in this topic from primary and secondary schools.
Marta Mikołajczyk explained, among others, how ‒ when using the Internet ‒ users leave traces of their activity, e.g. in the form of sharing data about themselves. It is from such information that the so-called digital profile can be created. By building a profile of a possible customer, marketers, with the needs of suppliers of various goods and services in mind, try to determine the habits, interests, weaknesses and important moments as well as personality traits and demographic characteristics of users. Data brokers identify customer segments that correspond to specific characteristics or expected behavior. On this basis, they create narrowly defined categories of user profiles, e.g. in order to display relevant advertisements to them.
During her speech, the coordinator of the Personal Data Protection Office’s educational program also discussed the consequences for children and young people of inept handling of personal data, as well as the challenges faced by parents and teachers along with the greater presence of children in the digital environment and the increasing need for effective protection of their personal data. She emphasised the importance of supporting the youngest in their first contacts with the Internet and of making young people aware of their rights in connection with the processing of their personal data by numerous entities, the related threats in the digital reality and how this may affect their future.
At the same time, she drew attention to the need to systematically increase children's independence in matters concerning their privacy, adequately to their age and their developing cognitive abilities. It is not only about explaining the compliance with legal obligations imposed on controllers, but about creating a child-friendly procedure for expressing consent, respecting the rights of children (the right to withdraw consent or request the erasure of data). Controllers should communicate with children in a transparent way (they should pay attention to whether messages addressed to children are understandable for them). She also encouraged to pay attention to the issues of personal data protection on a daily basis, apply the principles of digital hygiene, organise practical classes, but most of all, to consciously use digital services and content, social media and smart devices, and be attentive in the digital world. We should remember that the more active we are online, the more attention we should pay to the protection of personal data.
In addition to the topic of personal data protection and privacy, the seminar participants could also learn about other issues. The speakers discussed among others the impact of virtual reality on the functioning of a student at school; they explained what legal liability can be assumed by young internet users; and also explained what shaping an image online consists in.
The Radom Teacher Training Centre, which is a local government institution, accredited by The Education Office in Warsaw. For many years, it has been actively participating in the educational program "Your data ‒ your concern".