Scottish Government
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First Minister signs up to iRights

£76,000 for Young Scot to empower young people online.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has signed up the Scottish Government as an official supporter of the iRights coalition yesterday.

The First Minister endorsed the project during a visit to a youth café at the Cupar YMCA-YWCA where she met young people ahead of the Cabinet meeting and public discussion in the town.

The iRights coalition recognises that the internet and digital technologies are a fundamental part of children and young people’s lives and believes that they people must be empowered to access the digital world creatively, knowledgeably and fearlessly.

Young Scot is the lead in Scotland for the UK-wide iRights coalition and has been awarded £76,000 by the Scottish Government to define and promote the rights of children and young people online and in digital technologies.

The initiative will run for 18 months and is centred on five principles to allow children and young people to access the internet and digital world safely and knowledgeably.

The First Minister said:

“We believe that every child and young person has the right to grow up in a safe environment – that principle applies to the virtual world too. That is why we’re proud to support the iRights coalition and to ensure the Scottish Government is doing its bit to keep children and young people safe online.

“Digital technology is increasingly a key part of our everyday lives and it’s vital that young people develop their digital skills, learn to use technology responsibly and understand the risks, as well as the opportunities, of being online.

“I’m delighted that Young Scot will be leading this project in Scotland and will be able to reach thousands of young people across the country to involve them in shaping and their online rights.”

Signing up to the iRights coalition is one of a number of initiatives the Scottish Government has led on to promote online rights and safety, since leading a summit in 2013 to make sure child internet safety is properly recognised within education, policing and child protection policies.

Louise Macdonald OBE, Young Scot’s Chief Executive, said:

“Enabling young people to have the knowledge and expertise to build opportunities and to be masters of their own experience is really important to us here at Young Scot.

“That’s why we are so excited to be part of the iRights coalition which encourages young people to know what their rights are online and make informed decisions and choices as a result. We are really proud that the First Minister has recognised the importance of this, and is signing up to being part of the iRights coalition - we hope it will encourage others to follow suit.

“We would love to see every company, organisation and leader in Scotland use these set of rights so that collectively, we can enable young people to thrive within their digital world.”

Notes To Editors

The five principles of iRights are:

  1. The right to remove: to easily edit or delete online content they have created, and access simple and effective ways to dispute online content about them
  2. The right to know: 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.
  3. The right to safety and support: to be confident they will be protected from illegal practices, and supported if confronted by troubling and upsetting scenarios online.
  4. The right to make informed and conscious choices: to engage online but also to disengage at will and not have their attention held unknowingly.
  5. The right to digital literacy: to be taught the appropriate skills to use and critique digital technologies and be confident in managing new social norms.

The Scottish Government welcomed the recommendations from the Royal Society of Edinburgh report “spreading the benefits of digital participation”. The report recommended that further consideration should be given to the topic of digital literacy and its broader definition including online safety, rights and responsibilities and an understanding of the relationship between the on and offline worlds.

The iRights project will provide insight, learning and understanding of individuals rights and safety on the internet. The aim is to improve digital competence and confidence within the population as a whole and the findings and recommendations will be of great value in informing future policy.

Steps already being taken by the Scottish Government to enhance online safety:

  • The national anti-bullying service respectme was established in 2009 to build confidence and capacity to tackle bullying effectively, aligned to the national approach to anti-bullying in Scotland.
  • Guidance on internet safety for those working with young people was included for the first time in the 2014 refresh of National Guidance for Child Protection in Scotland.
  • The Scottish Government helped launch the 360 degree safe online tool in 2013, which allows schools and local authorities to review their e-safety provision and to develop an action plan for improvement.
  • Online safety in Scotland is monitored by the Scottish Government-led Scottish Stakeholder Group on Child Internet Safety (SSGCIS), set up in 2009. The Group includes wide representation, including Police Scotland, Young Scot, respectme, Local Authority E-Safety Partnerships, Internet Watch Foundation, CEOP and Scottish Government policy leads, and provides expert advice to the Government.

Links to internet safety partners and further advice for staying safe online can be found here.


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