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  • Caroline Keen

How can you protect children's personal data online?

Start a conversation about children's data privacy by watching our animated video explainer

New Zealand parents know very little about their children’s exposure to data collection through commercial services within schools, and rarely are informed or given the choice to consent or opt out. In part this is because we are still thinking about student data in more basic terms such as the data parents and children knowingly give schools, and data the school itself generates about a student such as truancy, counseling services, health services, academic grades, sports achievements etc. We don’t yet think about meta data and data analytics being used by the EdTech software now embedded within schools.

We need a better understanding of what personal data is in the digital environment? To this end Sociodigital Research has put together a 4 minute animated video explaining data, and data collection, which you can watch here.

What can we do to protect our children's data privacy?

Ideally, parents and children should not be put in a position of having to forfeit valuable online learning tools because government and EdTech companies fail to ensure their privacy is protected. However, schools are largely unaware of the privacy risks that EdTech pose to students.

We need to develop and enforce child specific data protection law and ensure compliance. This is because even if schools or governments audit EdTech against NZPrivacy Act this will not address children's rights specifically, or bring us in line with emerging international regulatory frameworks.

We need to encourage data minimization, ensuring that analytics are only used for educational purposes only, and that such developmental and learning data not be sold or used for commercial purposes outside of their education. We need public debate about commercial interests in schools, transparency and privacy by default, the issue of consent, along with campaigns to raise awareness, empower parents, teachers, and students to manage data privacy in an informed way.

For further information contact: Dr Caroline Keen,


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