The UnBias team is pleased to announce the launch of a ground-breaking report that articulates the voice of children and young people, and their relationship to the internet and digital technologies.
This report is titled ‘The Internet on our Own Term: How Children and Young People Deliberated about their Digital Rights’ and describes the work carried since April 2015 in which young people aged between 12 and 17 gathered together in the cities of Leeds, London and Nottingham to participate in a series of jury-styled focus groups designed to ‘put the internet on trial’. In total, nine juries took place which included 108 young people, approximately 12 participants per jury.
The report outlines the ground-breaking research process, using actors to set scenarios for debate and a deliberative process to capture the changing views of young people as they examine a broad range of claims and evidence.
The policy suggestions, straight from the mouths and imaginations of the young participants, aimed at Ministers, Industry, Educators and Business are vibrant, surprising and pragmatic. Below are some recurring themes:
Young People’s Recommendations about Data:
- Users should be informed of any use of their data – their explicit consent should be required
- Information about how personal data is shared and tracked
- The length of time personal data is stored should be limited
- There should be a recognised award/badge for best practice in personal data sharing and protection of user’s privacy
Young People’s Recommendations about Terms and Conditions:
- Should be clearer, shorter and more accessible
- Introduce audio and/or video T&C
- Businesses that do not comply with minimum requirements, such as word limits, clarity, reasonable choice or accessibility, should be fined
Young People’s Recommendations about Removing Content:
- Young people wanted an overall power to delete own content
- A self-tracking tool to see where one’s content goes
Young People’s Recommendations about Screen Shots:
- A blocking tool should be available
- Users should have control to limit viewing and unwanted exposure
Young People’s Recommendations about Education:
- A demand for awareness raising/improving internet literacy
- A broader curriculum beyond the current provision of e-safety that explains as well as warns
- Peer-group advice service
Young People’s Recommendations about Excessive Device Use:
- Responsible adults and technologies to help children exercise self-control specifically the ubiquitous provision of time cut-off points
- Recommended usage periods
- Social and technological tools to manage use
Alongside many positive stories and personal anecdotes about how invaluable digital communication technologies were, juror’s expressions of frustration and concerns were grouped into the following themes:
- Transcending the online-offline dichotomy: Young people expect their online experiences to be consistent and governed by the same moral standards as the offline world and therefore, to have the same rights and responsibilities online as they have offline.
- The role of regulation: Along with self-responsibility, they wanted regulation to introduce reasonable norms to ensure young people’s experiences online are not only safer, but happier.
- Finding efficacy: The process of participating had a profound effect on their efficacy. Jurors were measured before and after to capture attitudinal change. They left feeling more determined to have a say about how digital technologies and services are run and more confident about expressing their rights.
The launch will take place at the House of Lords next 31st of January and it be presented by Baroness Beeban Kidron, Prof Stephen Coleman from Leeds University and Elvira Perez from the UnBias team. Children and young people will be attending the launch and contributing the Q&A session.