Monday, 10 August 2015

iRights - Enabling Children and Young People to Access Digital Technologies Creatively, Knowledgeably and Fearlessly

iRights is an initiative to put in place guidance, and ultimately a legal framework, to enable children and young people to get the best from digital technologies.

This is an important, and complex, topic which deserves to be actively discussed. The approach that iRights takes is to promote the education of young people so that they understand how the digital world works while also demanding that service providers meet the needs of children and young people.

Tech Age Kids supports iRights for young people. There's more work to be done but it's fantastic that this topic is getting attention.

The focus on the rights of the young people and the responsibilities to them is important. iRights isn't about giving rights and responsibilities to parents as many other initiatives are.
iRights is a civil society initiative that seeks to make the digital world a more transparent and empowering place for children and young people (under 18) by delivering a universal framework of digital rights, in order that young people are able to access digital technologies creatively, knowledgeably and fearlessly.

In the US, the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) is concerned with ensuring that parental permission is obtained whenever children's data is collected.

Websites can easily avoid COPPA by not providing their services to users that they know to be under 13. This is fine for websites that are not suitable for under 13s, but we don't want it to prevent children from accessing websites that would be useful to them. It's preferable to encourage websites to put appropriate safeguards in place.

Children need access to digital technologies so that they can develop their skills. The balance between freedom and protection that iRights is advocating is important.

The 5 iRights

iRights has produced a short animated film to be shared with young people:

iRights is UK-based and founded by Baroness Beeban Kidron, an English film director and campaigner for children's online rights.
The issues addressed by iRights are international, many of the services that young people access will originate in the US and other countries, it's not always easy to see where the boundaries are. This discussion needs to be held it the context of an international internet. The video is worth watching and sharing whether you are in the UK or elsewhere.

iRights touches on many of the issues that parents are concerned about today including the difficulty that young people have in disengaging from technology and the impact that ill-considered information sharing might have in later life. We'll be covering issues like these in more detail in future articles on Tech Age Kids. It's important that parents understand the issues and know how to make sure their children are developing into empowered digital citizens.

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