iRights campaigns for more online rights for young people

Internet campaign group iRights wants individuals under the age of 18 to be able to delete content from their social media profiles that might prove damaging later in life.

The organisation does not want young people to harm their career prospects through their online actions and has already gained the support of politicians, corporations and young people themselves.

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iRights has come up with five key actions that online companies must implement in order to provide a better Internet for children and young people. They include that social media content should be easy to delete and that young people should have the right to know who is holding information on them and what it is likely to be used for. With regard to the latter request, iRights believes that terms and conditions that effect young people should be written so “typical minors can understand them.”

iRights also believes that it is important for children to be safe online and receive an age-appropriate level of protection, have the right to engage and disengage with online content freely and the right to digital literacy.

The final campaign point is particularly important as it is often assumed that young people can instinctively use new technologies, but sometimes their digital literacy is overstated.

“Children and young people are often presented as digital natives – with fast thumbs able to summon up the knowledge of the world in an instant, build a million dollar company from their bedroom, or topple a corrupt regime with a tweet,” the campaign group said. “Yet the latest research shows that far from being at the forefront of the digital revolution, many young people remain on the lower ‘rungs’ of digital understanding. They lack the skills and knowledge necessary to benefit from the immense opportunities on offer as they move between spaces that are heavily limited and others where ‘anything goes.’”

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iRights ultimately wants young people not simply to be able to use the Internet, but to fully understand the potential advantages and pitfalls that accompany it.