Young Scot, young Scots and iRights
As an organisation, Young Scot is “digital by design” – as demanded by our 615,000 members. This means that we have to stay at the cutting edge of digital developments whilst recognising our duty of care to both protect and, importantly, empower young people in their digital world. We recognise that whilst children and young people are often presented as digital natives, in fact, research shows that many young people remain on the lower ‘rungs’ of digital understanding. As an organisation, it is essential that we are not leaving any young people behind in our “digital by design” approach, and we are working hard to provide opportunities to support young Scots who are most excluded from the digital world.
At Young Scot, we are absolutely delighted to be the strategic lead in Scotland for iRights, the UK-wide coalition which aims to make the internet and surrounding digital world a better and more empowering place for all children and young people. We are absolutely delighted to be the strategic lead in Scotland for iRightsRecognising that digital technology is a fundamental part of young peoples’ lives, the iRights coalition believes that these technologies must be designed and delivered with young peoples’ needs specifically in mind. iRights is a framework of five clear and simple principles to enable children and young people to access the internet creatively, knowledgeably and fearlessly. These principles translate existing rights of young people under the age of 18 from the physical into a digital world context.
Young Scot is the national youth information and citizenship agency for Scotland, and currently has a membership of over 615,000 young people. The iRights coalition believes that digital technologies must be designed and delivered with young peoples’ needs specifically in mindWe provide all young people in Scotland aged 11-26 with information, ideas and incentives to enable them to make informed decisions and choices, turn their ideas into action and take advantage of opportunities available throughout Scotland and Europe. Our founding principle is the UNCRC and in particular Articles 12 & 17. The iRights framework provides an excellent opportunity to deliver on these articles. We are exceptionally lucky to have over 615,000 members who are exploring with us: they can provide us with rich insights as they too learn to navigate their digital lives.
The iRights principles are:
- The right to remove: every child and young person should have the right to easily edit or delete all content they have created.
- The right to know: children and young people have the right to know who is holding or profiting 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: children and young people should be confident that they will be protected from illegal practices and supported if confronted by troubling or upsetting scenarios online.
- The right to make informed and conscious choices: children and young people should be empowered to reach into creative places online, but at the same time have the capacity and support to easily disengage.
- The right to digital literacy: to access the knowledge that the internet can deliver, children and young people need to be taught the skills to use, create and critique digital technologies, and given the tools to negotiate changing social norms.
Considering just one of these principles, “the right to safety and support” in more detail, this is about children and young people receiving an “age-appropriate, comparable level of adult protection, care and guidance in the online space, as in the offline. And that all parties contribute to common safety and support frameworks easily accessible and understandable by young people”.
It is important for children and young people to know how to stay safe online by learning to manage risk, particularly given that when online, no young person can ever be completely safe and notably, not every harm is illegal. It is our duty of care to both protect and, importantly, empower young people in their digital world, allowing them to “explore digital spaces but provide education, support, guidance and representation when needed, varying the strategies by age and maturity”.
The Young Scot and iRights partnership will play a key role in our activity at Young Scot over the coming year as we implement the iRights principles throughout our organisation and help us to change the attitudes of leaders, organisations and individuals towards existing rights, in a digital context. We are excited to take on the role of helping to grow the coalition within Scotland and facilitate opportunities for our young people to be at the forefront of this initiative while doing so.
In the coming weeks, we are working on the creation of a Youth Commission on iRights. In the coming weeks, we are working on the creation of a Youth Commission on iRights.The iRights Youth Commission will involve our tried and tested highly participative approach, to support a diverse national group of young people to develop informed insights, ideas, recommendations and solutions for policy and practice in relation to how Scotland can become a nation which realises children and young people’s digital rights.
We were delighted that Scotland’s First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon MSP, recently signed up to iRights on behalf of the Scottish Government. For us, this is just a starting point – whilst we have a number of exciting signatories, from the Children and Young People’s Commissioner through to NHS Health Scotland, we are exceptionally excited about the activity that will come along with coalition growth and the work of Scotland’s youth commissioners. Working together with other organisations across Scotland, we can ensure that every child and young person in Scotland has their digital rights realised.
To find out more about how to join Scotland’s iRights Commission visit – http://young.scot/things-to-do/events/edinburgh/join-scotland-s-irights-youth-commission/
Hilary Kidd, Young Scot’s Digital Academy Manager, is speaking on ‘iRights’ at our Child Internet Safety conference on Wednesday 28 October 2015.