Are young people too willing to share personal information online? In an age of social media and mobile devices, every teenybopper with a smart phone could potentially be broadcasting to millions of people around the globe. But are they aware of the value of their personal data? Do they see that data as currency to be traded for online services?

As part of our Debating Europe Schools series, we’ve been taking questions from students from across Europe to policymakers and experts for them to answer. For today’s debate, we had questions sent in on video games in the classroom from students from the University of Leipzig and the Leuphana Universität Lünenburg, both from Germany.

Curious to know more about what young people think about online privacy? We’ve put together some facts and figures in the infographic below (click for a bigger version).


Our first question came from Charlotte, a student at the Leuphana Universität Lünenburg in Germany. She wanted to know how the internet has changed our expectations of privacy.

To get a response, we spoke to Mathilde Fiquet, EU Legal Affairs Manager for the Federation of European Direct and Interactive Marketing (FEDMA). As an organisation representing digital marketers (i.e. companies who have an active interest in gaining access to data from consumers so they can more effectively advertise to them) what would she say?

Our next question came from Dianta, a student at the University of Leipzig, also in Germany. She wanted to know whether policymakers should consider introducing courses on privacy in primary schools.

To get a reaction, we spoke to Therese Comodini Cachia, a Maltese MEP who sits with the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) in the European Parliament. What would she say to Dianta?

Do young people care enough about their privacy online? Are they aware of the value of their personal data? Should children be taught the value of privacy in school? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions.

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – Frédéric Poirot

35 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

  1. avatar
    Albert Plug

    As long as they are not bullied, stalked, or ” faceraped”, I have the impression, that they really don’t care. They seem to take the openness and thereby vulnerability for granted. And why shouldn’t they? Trust is in fact the essence of our democratic society. ;-)

  2. avatar
    Ryan Lee

    No one has full privacy but as a young person I use a VPN and other software to make it as difficult as possible for them to track me ;)

  3. avatar
    Nando Aidos

    Do young people care enough about their privacy online?
    Where are the young people’s answers?
    Where are the young people engaged?
    It is facebook after all!

  4. avatar
    Melanie Marchant-was Terry

    Sorry is this in general, or just another EU bashing exercise for some? In general no they don’t care enough about privacy, nor do they realise how easy it is for corporations, Governments, crimimals to gather information held on the internet.

  5. avatar
    Daniella Jordanni

    Considering the fact that there is no privacy anymore with all those Big Brothers watching, yes I do. I think we all should be.

    • avatar
      catherine benning

      It’s Russel Brand not Russell Grant. He, Grant, is the astrologer. LOL

  6. avatar
    Claus Skøtt Christensen

    Dunno about the rest of young people, but I was taught that if you put your information out there, you get to decide what people can see. The world will learn about you either way; if you try to keep it hidden, the information will just leak online anyway, and then it suddenly becomes a revelation (where it might otherwise just have been a fact). But really? There is so much data online. I suspect the risk of our personal data being remotely relevant to anyone at all is actually quite small.

  7. avatar
    Paulo Especial

    EU is RIGHT in PROTECTING the disclosure of data regarding European Citizens and Companies!!!

    These, at most, should only be available to EU security entities!

  8. avatar
    Emil Pavlovich

    It doesn’t matter – if somebody tries to hack your phone or to use some information and so on it can always be done no matter the protection.

  9. avatar

    I don’t necessarily believe that it’s like young kids don’t care, I think some just have any knowledge of how to keep safe and have privacy online.

    • avatar

      Some just don’t*

  10. avatar

    Of course we care. But you get carried away and in a few years we won’t know what personal thing of us might be found on the internet.

  11. avatar

    Of course they don’t. The younger generation only cares about views and likes. That’s the way it is. The sad truth! I do think that it’s just a temporary mindset that will change in their twenties.
    Should we be worried about it? If parents took the time to educate children on the do’s and don’ts about internet there wouldn’t an issue. For example someone who sends nudes to her boyfriend, what is the cause of this behavior?

  12. avatar
    Sofia,Iris e Giulia

    We think it is too late to end online privacy problems. However, the solutions are simple: minors who are not aware of what they are risking should be informed of the dangers, but it would be even better to avoid using too much technology and instead spend more time with parents or friends outside, away from the internet.

  13. avatar

    In our opinion, privacy online is very important because we don’t know the people we meet on the web: therefore we must be very careful before transmitting our personal information to people we don’t know.

  14. avatar

    No one has really ,,privacy’’. If you live in a island alone without any devices Yea you probably has privacy

  15. avatar

    I think that most young people now are more aware about digital privacy because they teach it in schools now. (I’m not sure if they did before).

  16. avatar

    I don’t even care about people knowing my personal info because there is nothing important about me. Online spies spying on me would be like watching paint dry.

  17. avatar

    I don’t even care about people knowing my personal info because there is nothing important about me. Online spies spying on me would be like watching paint dry.
    No one has really ,,privacy’’. If you live in a island alone without any devices Yea you probably has privacy

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