In the Spotlight

Institute for Privacy Program School Outreach Program

Institute for Privacy Protection’s School Outreach Program

“Our program is unique in reaching students and parents, seeking to educate both about the risks of privacy mismanagement and technology over-use and to foster trust as parent-child relationships are increasingly affected by technology,” says Professor Gaia Bernstein, Director for the Institute for Privacy Protection.

The new Institute for Privacy Protection at Seton Hall Law School recently launched an innovative outreach program and curriculum that partners with parents and educational leaders to raise awareness about personal privacy and social media.  The Institute’s curriculum focuses on elementary and middle school children in New Jersey and New York and highlights topics such as reputational impact, advertisements and content choice, with a focus on balancing time spent on screens and time spent offline. The Curriculum was designed by the Privacy Institute’s faculty and is taught by the Institute’s law student fellows.  “We teach students about privacy at the age at which they receive their first cell phone,” explains Professor Gaia Bernstein, Director for the Institute for Privacy Protection. “The students learn how to manage their reputations online and how to maintain a healthy online-offline balance.” 

According to Najarian Peters, Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow for the Institute, “Behavior is the toughest element to change in our daily lives; however, making a positive impact on behavior is key to creating a healthy relationship with technology. Fundamentally, the curriculum will help children make good choices online.” “The lessons developed by the Institute of Privacy Protection engage our students,” explains Namita Tolia, Head of School at Montclair Cooperative School, where Seton Hall Law Fellows teach the outreach program. “It is active, effective learning with exercises. We are thrilled to have Seton Hall Law teaching our fifth graders and beginning a conversation that will continue during their middle school years.”  The curriculum will expand into New York in February 2018. By the end of the project’s first academic year, the Institute’s student fellows will have taught ten 5th and 6th grade classes in New Jersey along with several more in New York. 

Created in 2016, the Institute for Privacy Protection seeks to educate consumers and businesses and to provide inter-disciplinary forums to address emerging privacy issues. Specifically, the Institute educates individuals and organizations about consumers’ exposure to privacy threats and ways to protect their personal information and avoid unsolicited invasions of their personal space through novel technologies and various forms of marketing. The Institute focuses on youth, parents and educators, to increase awareness of privacy threats resulting from use of new information technologies and to highlight potential solutions.  Additionally, the Institute educates businesses and professionals in the general business arena and in highly privacy regulated industries as to the privacy issues and legal rules affecting their operations, including permissible and impermissible sharing of personal information and forms of commercial advertising.  The Institute provides inter-disciplinary forums that foster a dialogue among legal academics, lawyers, psychologists, educators, technology designers, consumers, businesses and others to address ethical, cultural, social and legal privacy issues and promote the search for solutions.

(Photo: Montclair Cooperative School)