Young Canadians speak out about online privacy

  • Transcript

    (image of a teenager holding a laptop)

    Our partners at MediaSmarts conducted interactive focus groups with young Canadians aged 13-17 to learn what they think about securing their data online. Here's what they said.


    • Data breaches
    • Insufficient data protections
    • Undisclosed data uses
    • Inaccessible privacy policies
    • Complicated consent practices
    • Corporate surveillance
    • Algorithmic bias
    • Content filtering
    • Habitual or mindless scrolling
    • Increased reliance on artificial intelligence

    Young Canadians are aware of cyber security threats online and they want to take control over their privacy.

    Privacy PACT

    Young people have offered solutions to the privacy and data security issues they face online. These recommendations, directed at developers, online businesses and platforms, policymakers, governments and individual users, form a Privacy PACT.

    P - Protection

    • Safeguards from the unexpected consequences of data collection and sharing practices
    • Clear and accessible privacy policies that let users give meaningful consent online

    A - Awareness

    • More digital and algorithmic literacy education to empower youth to take control over their personal information and protect their digital identities
    • Teach youth how algorithms can be manipulated to promote scams and inappropriate content

    C - Control

    • Give control back to users over what data is collected and how it's used
    • More reporting features to flag harmful content

    T - Transparency

    • More information about how data is collected, stored and sold
    • Place safety, privacy and equity at the centre of Artificial Intelligence development

    (picture of a hand holding a phone with a locked padlock on screen)


    Get Cyber Safe and MediaSmarts recommend that young Canadian protect themselves online by

    • Protecting each of their accounts with strong and unique passphrases or complex passwords and keeping them private.
    • Reviewing the privacy settings of their accounts. The default settings can provide more access to data than desired.
    • Enabling multi-factor authentication (MFA) whenever it's available.
    • Avoiding sharing private or sensitive information, financial data, or personal details like phone numbers and addresses on social media.
    • Watching out for common scams like phishing.
    • Searching not surfing for information. Algorithms can steer you to wrong or misleading content.

    This research was made possible by the financial contributions from the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada's Contributions Program.


    Catalogue number: D96-75/2021E-PDF | ISBN: 978-0-660-40487-5

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