Skip to main content
Parents’ Guide

10 Tips for Parents
(Online Privacy)

The advance of information technology is changing how we live our lives. Online activities have become indispensable to the youth in their daily life. But are they able to identify the online privacy risk? Misuse of personal data may lead to identity fraud, cyber-bullying or harassments. It may also infringe the privacy of their friends or family members.

Parents have a role of guidance in personal data protection. We share 10 tips for parents to instill in their children the concept of personal data protection and respect for other’s privacy.

Basic steps

Tip 1

Be a good role model in personal data protection

Parents should understand the basic principles of personal data protection and practise it. Parents have a duty to remind their children not to upload photos or leave comments recklessly. They should also respect their children’s privacy by not posting videos or photos of their children on the Internet without their consent.

Chats with children help learn about popular online activities and computer products, from which they can know whether sharing of personal data is involved.

For details of the Six Data Protection Principles, please refer to

Tip 2

Remind children to manage passwords properly

Different passwords should be used for logging on different email accounts or websites. Use a safe password, e.g. a combination of eight or more alphabets, numerals and punctuation marks; avoid using 123456, student numbers, telephone numbers and dates of birth, which are easily guessed. Passwords should be changed regularly and should not be disclosed to anyone, including teachers and classmates.

Surfing the Internet

Tip 3

Learn how to accept or reject cookies

Cookies are computer files that store users’ website browsing records. They contain the information about users’ preferences, choices of online shopping cart, and even browsing history. There are different kinds of cookies. Some are necessary for website browsing, while some are simply made for tracking users’ online behaviour. You may give your children basic knowledge of cookies so that they can choose to accept or reject them.

Further information of cookies is available

Tip 4

Avoid sharing a computer/smartphone with children

Parents should avoid sharing computers or smartphones with their children. If there is such need, you should lock the screen with a complex password in order to prevent data leakage resulting from the use of the device by your children when they are left unattended.

Tip 5

Be careful when making online registration and downloading software

When making an online registration, downloading software, signing up for an online game or a lucky draw, you are generally required to provide your personal data to the requesters for verification or record. Parents should remind their children to beware of excessive collection of personal data and to check the reliability of the requesters. Remind children not to give sensitive personal data such as passwords, addresses, telephone numbers on online chat rooms and live chats for the sake of minimising the risk of data leakage.

Mobile phones

Tip 6

Experience children’s online world

From time to time, you may visit the websites that your children love to browse, e.g. chat rooms, social networking sites and online games or use the smartphone apps that your children love to use. By doing so, on the one hand, you may have common topics with your children and on the other hand, you can observe if there is any potential privacy risk. For example the collection of name, mobile phone number or date of birth in exchange for level-up in a game by the game developer may compromise one’s data privacy.

Tip 7

Read privacy policies

Young children do not have the capability of reading the privacy policies of websites or smartphone apps. Parents may read for them to ascertain that their personal data is safeguarded. For youngsters, parents may teach them to read such information before deciding to continue browsing a website or to download a smartphone app.

Tip 8

Use of mobile location services

Undoubtedly, it is convenient to look up for locations or "check-in" on social networking sites with a smartphone, but this will unnecessarily disclose the whereabouts of you or your children. A person had suffered loss of properties in a home burglary after he shared "check-in" information on a social networking site when travelling abroad, which had become a burglar tip-off.

Social interaction

Tip 9

Privacy setting for social networking activities

You may not be able to confirm the identity of the other side on the Internet. A private chat with friends may become public. You are advised to help your children configure the privacy setting of their accounts on social networking sites. The privacy setting needs to be re-set after the software has been updated. Hence always check the privacy setting and keep it updated to prevent oversharing of personal data.

You may configure the privacy setting at social networking sites, such as Facebook. Details are available

Tip 10

Privacy setting not an absolute protection

Even though you have configured privacy setting at social networking sites to restrict who can read your information, data leakage could still happen. Actually, all online activities are traceable; even deletion of an uploaded file is recorded. People may have saved, printed or shared it. To completely remove it from the Internet is difficult. Therefore, think before uploading photos or leaving comments.