Back to School Tech and online rights for children

While children are increasingly relying on tech to help them with schoolwork, a new campaign group sets out to improve online rights for children.

According to the uSwitch the UK’s schoolchildren will be packing a tech punch this autumn.  Its survey suggests that school children will be carrying over £3bn worth of technology into the classroom.

On average, each child will have £270 worth of tech in their schoolbags and over 20% of them will have over £400 worth of gadgets (usually smartphones and tablets). Half of all parents surveyed were expecting to buy new gadgets for children ahead of the start of the new school year, mostly because they felt the tech would give their children an educational advantage.  Children are increasingly reliant on gadgets to help then with homework assignments.

Interestingly 49% of parents expressed their concerns that reliance on tech, while providing some advantages, could have detrimental effects on the children’s’ social skills, verbal skills and mental arithmetic capability.

Five key rights for children online

A new campaign group, iRights, wants to ensure children under the age of 18 have the right to delete potentially damaging web content.  They claim their campaign for iRights for children are digital-relevant extensions of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.  The five iRights are:

  1. The right to remove - Every child and young person should have the right to easily edit or delete all content they have created.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. The right to 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.
  5. 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.

High profile signatories to the initiative include Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Dr Aleks Krotoski; Big Brother Watch, the British Psychoanalytic Council and Unicef.

Sources: uSwitch; ITProPortal; iRights.