Home / Issues / Privacy and Surveillance / Privacy Rights / Digital Privacy Rights for Youth

Digital Privacy Rights for Youth

More and more of our lives involve electronic devices. When you slip your phone into your pocket or laptop into your bag, it is easy to forget how much information you’re carrying with you. For many, it is an entire library – years of messages, web browsing history, and photos – all stored on one device!

This can make anyone feel vulnerable, and youth have a diminished amount of privacy on their electronic devices while in school. To educate and empower youth on their rights, we launched our Digital Privacy Rights for Youth project!

Download the ‘Digital Privacy Rights for Youth’ Guide

We created English and French language full-colour guides to educate youth on their rights on electronic devices in three areas:

  • Personal Electronic Device Searches in Classrooms
  • Student Freedom of Expression Online
  • Police Searches of Cellular Phones


Electronic Device Searches in Classrooms

School administrators are legally authorized to search students because of their “duty to protect them” and to “provide an orderly learning environment”. Given concerns over student safety continue to grow, in what circumstances might school administrators be authorized to access their information?

The BCCLA has created a new video to educate youth on their vulnerability to searches and best practices in Canadian classrooms.

The School Act

This extended 2-minute version of our new video looks closer at the School Act, a BC law laying out the legal powers and responsibilities of teachers, school administrators, and school boards. Much like Ontario’s Education Act, the School Act states that school administrators and teachers operate in virtue of “in loco perentis” meaning people working in school act as parents and guardians.

Educational Resources

For many teachers, educating students on how to engage with civil rights is an integral part of their curriculum. We have also prepared English and French language lesson plans for students in Ontario and British Columbia. To request lesson plans, or copies of Digital Privacy Rights for Youth booklets for your school or group, please email a request to [email protected].

This project was supported by a grant from the Canadian Internet Registration Authority’s (CIRA) Community Investment Program. While also financially supported by the Law Foundation of Ontario, the BCCLA is solely responsible for all content. The BCCLA previously worked with CIRA on the popular Electronic Devices Privacy Handbook, a guide to your rights at the border.