Module: Introduction to Privacy

Introduction:Privacy in the Digital Age*


Privacy consists of many interrelated ideas, behaviors, and concerns about why and how to draw personal boundaries in different spheres of life. Students will examine and develop their own understanding of privacy and explore how this understanding impacts their own activities, routines, and identities. What information do they want to share? Why does privacy matter?

  • SWBAT (students will be able to) explain that privacy allows us to make personal decisions—based on our own preferences—that we might not want others to know about.


  • Handouts: Privacy Game
    • Note: This handout is included in the full document which has been linked at the bottom of this page.

Timeline: 15 minutes

  • Privacy Game: 15 min

Privacy Game [15 min]

Distribute “Privacy Game” handout

  • ASK students to walk around the room - with their handouts - and introduce themselves to each other, as their character. In every conversation, they must share at least three of their answers.
    • Were there any facts which you did not share with anyone? Which ones? Why?
    • Did everyone make the same decisions about what to share? Why/why not?
    • Depending on who you share with, why might you share more, or less, of this kind of information? When would you share it?
    • Is this kind of information public? Private? Why? Is this the same for everyone?
  • EXPLAIN that there isn’t a single correct way of understanding privacy because everyone makes different personal decisions. If we’re more aware of what we value as private, and how our behaviors online can impact our privacy, we’ll be better prepared to make informed choices about what kind of privacy we want.
  • ASK
    • How would you define privacy? Why?
      • (Students should reflect on their own understanding of privacy. Answers will vary.)
    • Is all private information also a secret?
      • (Privacy is relative — there are some things that your friends know that you don’t want everything to know, even things that aren’t a secret. Your pet’s name is not a secret, but you may be weirded out if a stranger learned it. Sometimes private information is also used to recover passwords, so if a stranger knows your pet’s name—or you post lots of pictures of your dog online— someone might be able to use a website’s password recovery tool to change your password and lock you out of that website. Privacy involves an ability to control the flow of your personal information.)
    • Are  there  some  things  that  aren’t  necessarily  secrets  that  you  might  still  want  to  keep  private  from strangers or people you’ve just met?
      • (Phone numbers, emails, pictures, Social Security numbers, etc.)
    • Are there some things you might keep from your parents or your friends?

Extensions/Additional Resources

  • Ask students to search for their names — or their friends’ names — online, and see how much information they can find.

* This module, including accompanying handouts, is based on the framework found in the Volunteer Privacy Educators Pro-gram Curriculum developed by the Center for Law and Information Policy at Fordham University. Specific excerpts or quotations from the Volunteer Privacy Educators Program Curriculum (“CLIP Curriculum”) appear in quotation marks and are cited in the mod-ules and handouts where they appear. The CLIP Curriculum is available online in two parts (1) Lesson Plan Outlines, (“CLIP Curriculum Lesson”) and (2) Teacher Training Manual, http:// (“CLIP Curriculum Teacher”).

Module: Introduction to Privacy [PDF]
Module: Introduction to Privacy [Word Document]

Release Date 
March, 2016