Curriculum  |    |  April 24, 2020

AI and Data Privacy Activities for K-9 Students

Curriculum developed by Stephanie Nguyen, Daniella DiPaola and Cynthia Breazeal at the MIT Media Lab Personal Robots Group. This workshop teaches data privacy concepts and engages youth in prototyping and designing data privacy features.Policymakers, practitioners, and researchers are grappling with some herculean questions regarding kids’ safety online. Homemade slime with Doctor Squish, 5-minute crafts, and Minecraft videos: What constitutes “kids content” and how do content-creators convey this effectively? How does YouTube limit and minimize data collection in practice? What does a reasonable parent-child consent process look like?

These conversations are often led by legal experts, technocrats, and academic researchers. To better understand children’s perspective and intuition of data privacy and collection, we organized a workshop with the end-user experts themselves: kids.

This project seeks to inform youth about data and privacy topics through a series of hands-on activities. The goal is to encourage students to form their own opinions and think more critically about the platforms they use every day, instead of solely listing the dangers and the “what not to do’s.”

MIT partnered with the Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts and Edward M. Kennedy Institute to work with 60 Girl Scouts and their parents on Cybersecurity Badge Day. The Girl Scouts participated in workshops and then convened to vote on a data privacy draft bill in a full-scale replica of the US Senate Chamber. MIT has now created a series of three videos to teach students about data privacy concepts that you can learn from at home.

Designing ads with transparency: A creative workshop. Runtime 6 minutes.

What is the meaning, purpose, and influence of advertising on us? In this activity, we will learn to think critically about the role of advertisements in our lives. In groups, we will create an advertisement for an everyday object. The trick is to make the advertisement as “transparent” as possible. How will you design your ad? What elements or messages should stand out most?

Mystery YouTube Viewer: A lesson on Data Privacy. Runtime 6 minutes.

What is data? What is privacy? In this activity, we will observe a YouTube home page from a mystery user. Using the clues from the videos this character has been recommended, we will ask you to draw what the character might look like, guess what they might like to do or where they might live. What you will do is similar to what YouTube algorithms can do: make guesses about you based on what you watch!

Designing Privacy in Social Media Platforms. Runtime 6 minutes.

Participate in a workshop designed to teach and engage students about YouTube, design, data privacy, and civics. Students will make their own designs to solve one of the biggest challenges of the digital era—online consent. In this lesson plan, we will reflect and share our own privacy perspectives and learn about one of the most important privacy laws that impact how youth consume media on YouTube: The Children’s Online Privacy Protections Rule (COPPA). This creative activity focuses on one of the elements of the legislation: How might we get parental permission (or verifiable consent)?

Related Article: Cybersecurity Badge Day 2020: Girl Scouts of Easter MA focuses on data privacy and tech policy