Why we’re supporting iRights
The iRights campaign has gathered momentum in recent months and with good reason.
The main aim of the initiative is to make the digital world a more transparent and empowering place for children and young people by delivering a universal framework of digital rights, allowing them to access digital technologies creatively, knowledgeably and fearlessly.
The campaign is being endorsed by a broad spectrum of ministers, industry and charities alike representing both adults and young people such as Barclays, Freeformers, Barnardos and the Scouts Association, and includes backing from Baroness Joanna Shields, former Managing Director of Google in Europe.
Though young people are often presented as being at the forefront of the digital revolution, recent research demonstrates many are in fact lacking in digital understanding.
While this highlights the need to close the skills gap between those who can digitally create vs those who merely consume, as addressed with programmes such as the Digital Makers Fund, it also emphasises the need for a universal framework of principles for how we should engage with young people in the digital world, particularly when it comes to helping them navigate the balance of choice between freedom and protection.
The iRights campaign provides this framework via five simple principles:
The right to remove. Everyone under 18 has the right to easily edit or delete content they have created, and access to simple and effective ways to dispute online content about them.
The right to know. Everyone under 18 has the right to know who holds and profits from their information, what their information is being used for, and whether it is being copied, sold, or traded.
The right to safety and support. Everyone under 18 can be confident they will be protected from illegal practices, and supported if confronted by troubling and upsetting scenarios online.
The right to make informed and conscious choices. Everyone under 18 is free to engage online but also to disengage at will and not have their attention held unknowingly.
The right to digital literacy. Everyone under 18 is taught the skills to use and critique digital technologies and to be confident in managing new social norms.
Nesta’s funding of £75,000 enabled iRights to develop and publish its manifesto, develop a youth jury programme of mixed groups of young people across the UK delving into how the digital work impacts their lives, and have a significant speaking presence at the Web We Want Festival.
With this growing legion of signatories pledged to operate within these principles, along with the funding from Nesta, we're on course to enable young people to regain control of the information they share online and thereby avoid missing out on the tremendous opportunities the internet can provide.