To mark International Data Protection Day on Friday, 28th January, Guernsey’s Office of the Data Protection Authority (ODPA) joined forces with the Guernsey Youth Commission, extending the reach of its programme which helps young people understand about personal data, their rights and looking after data safely.
The Youth Commission’s team will deliver fun and engaging educational sessions in schools as well as youth clubs and other groups or schemes involving young people, to help them learn more about safely navigating the world of data.
The programme is part of the ODPA’s commitment, and statutory obligation, to promote greater public awareness of the rights people have under data protection law but also the risks in relation to personal data processing, especially when it involves children.
It’s also part of a wider strategy to link the aims of the outreach project to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (the UNCRC). This Convention also underpins the work of the Youth Commission and the Rights Respecting Schools Award followed by Bailiwick schools.
Emma Martins, the Bailiwick’s Data Protection Commissioner, said: “Our schools programme is an important pillar of the work we are doing. Ensuring young people have data rights incorporated into their broader education has many benefits.
“Young people are among the most vulnerable members of our community and this is recognised by the extra protection the local data protection law gives them. Although the focus of this programme will look much broader, the reality is that young people are increasingly sharing vast amounts of their personal information online and we want to encourage everyone to understand both the opportunities and the risks.
“By collaborating with the Youth Commission, we can start to have meaningful engagement with far more young people, to empower them, and hear what issues they are facing. We are thrilled that Charlie and her team have agreed to work with us.
“The interactive activities and presentations will introduce the reason we have and need data protection laws and also outline the rights that they give us. Participants will discuss and identify types and categories of personal data and be guided on identifying and preventing potential risks and harms.”
Charlie Cox (pictured), CEO of the Youth Commission, said: ‘Working with the ODPA is important because it helps us raise awareness in schools, youth groups and the wider community that all children and young people have rights over how information about them is used, and how essential it is to protect personal data and ensure data privacy even from a young age.
“I hope that the wide range of people we see will spread the word not just in school or amongst their peers, but to parents, carers, and siblings that data protection is people protection, and that we can all play our part by treating all human beings with fairness and dignity.”
Emma added: ‘As well as empowering people through education, we also want to encourage people to explore the fascinating world of data, and how it impacts all aspects of our lives. A well-informed young person is less likely to fall victim to the harms that can arise from the misuse of personal data and is more likely to become a responsible and enlightened adult.”