The Internet and You: Privacy and You

Privacy and You


Understanding what privacy is and why it matters to you can be complicated and confusing. Students will explore what kinds of information should be kept “private,” as well as consider what kinds of situations might involve their parents or other important people in their lives (such as when students encounter serious or frightening circumstances).

Students will be able to:

  • Explain what privacy means and why it is important.
  • Respect the privacy decisions of others.


Timeline [45]

  • Privacy Game: 10 minutes
  • Privacy Video: 15 minutes
  • Deleted Scene: 10 minutes
  • Quiz: 10 minutes

Privacy Game [10]

Pass out the “Privacy Game” handout (p. 12-14) and assign each student a character. If you have more students than characters, you can either assign multiple students to a character, create new characters yourself, or have students create their own characters. ASK students to walk around the room—with their handouts—and introduce themselves to each other, as their character. In each conversation, they must share at least three of their answers.


  • “Were there any facts that you did not share with anyone? Which ones? Why?”
  • “Did everyone make the same choices about what to share? Why/why not?”
  • “Depending on whom you share with, why might you share more, or less, of this kind of information? When would you share it?”

EXPLAIN that privacy is the ability to control what other people know about you. You can do this by saying certain things about yourself (like telling other people your address or what you like to do for fun) or doing things around other people (like going to a toy store with your friends and picking out your favorites). Privacy matters whether you are in a room with other people or talking to them online.


  • “Privacy is based on your own personal decisions. What privacy means to you and your family might be very different than what privacy means to the other kids in this class and their families. If we’re more aware of what we value as private, and how our behaviors online can shape our privacy, we’ll be able to make better choices about what kind of privacy we want.”
  • “Privacy also changes depending on the information and with whom it is being shared.”

ASK “For example, would you share your home address with the following people:”

  • “Your parents?”
  • “Your friends?”
  • “Your teacher?”
  • “A stranger?”


  • “When you share information online, it’s important to consider who could see that information and whether you, or the person whose information is being shared, would feel comfortable sharing that particular information with that audience.”
  • “Some information could mean bad things in the future if it is shared with the wrong people. If a stranger knows exactly where you live, then they could come to your house, which could be unsafe. In order to know what privacy choices will keep you safe, you need to understand what the effects of sharing information are.”

Privacy Video [15]

SAY “We’re now going to watch a video where a game show contestant gets quizzed about privacy.”

Watch video:


  • “Why did Ruff share his password?”
    • He wasn’t listening while his grandma was talking. Instead he was checking his phone.
  • “What could happen to Ruff if he shares his password?”
    • Someone could access his phone and the different accounts he has on it.

SAY “If someone has access to your phone, they can pretend to be you and even send messages to your friends.”


  • “Why do people want to share photos online?”
    • To share their experiences with their friends, to get a laugh, etc.
  • “What could happen to Ruff’s friends if he shared the photo with their personal information?”
    • They could begin receiving messages from strangers, both on their phones and on the game.
  • “How might Ruff’s friends feel if they found out that Ruff had shared their personal information without their permission?”
    • They might be upset with him, especially because of what might happen—if a stranger saw that photo, they could text Ruff’s friend!
    • It may be prudent to mention that many modern smartphones attach location data to photos. Thus, even if you send someone a photo of a black wall, they may be able to tell where you were at the time.
  • “Did Ruff do the right thing by ignoring his grandma’s text?”
    • Yes, a person could have texted Ruff pretending to be his Grandma, and Ruff could not have known.
  • “If Ruff’s grandma wanted to get in touch with him from an unfamiliar phone number, how could she have done so so he wouldn’t ignore her?”
    • Ruff’s grandma could have called or emailed Ruff to let him know she got a new phone. It would have been best if she had called from a number or email address that Ruff already recognized.

Deleted Scene [10]

SAY “Let’s check out one more question from the game show.”

Watch video:


  • “How is saying something over text different than saying it in person?”
    • If you can’t see the person’s reaction, you don’t know how they felt about what you said. You might hurt someone’s feelings without realizing it.
  • “How does Chet feel after reading Ruff’s text? How should Chet respond?”
    • Chet’s feelings may have been hurt, since Ruff was making fun of him. Chet should have sent Ruff a text telling him how he felt about the message.

INSTRUCT the class to split into pairs and come up with a short text that Chet could have sent. Invite students to share their messages with the class afterwards.

SAY “When talking to someone face-to-face, you can observe their reactions when you talk to them, including body language and their tone of voice. However, that context is lost when communicating online.”

ASK “How might Chet and Ruff have acted differently if they were speaking in person?”

  • Chet might have understood that Ruff was joking from context clues. Ruff may also have noticed that Chet was hurt by what he was saying and could apologize or stop teasing.

Quiz [10]

Students can take the quiz online (individually, in groups, or as a class): Otherwise, the quiz has been included in the handout (p. 20-21). Have students complete the quiz and then go through the quiz, providing the correct answers and asking the following corresponding questions.

  • If you are doing the quiz collectively, ask the questions after completing each part of the quiz.


  • Parent Handout: Privacy (p. 22)
    • Distribute handouts to students and ask them to discuss online privacy with their parents and family members at home.


Individual vs. Group 
Release Date 
August, 2016