In response to increasing concerns about the extent to which Internet activities put children and young people at risk from sexual and psychological abuse, numerous Internet safety educational materials including online guidelines, tools, and advice for parents and teachers have been developed with the intention of minimising such risks. Internet Safety, however, appears to have more in common with risk prevention programmes than programmes aiming to promote digital rights and literacy among children and young people.
While prevention and promotion interventions may have similar goals such as reducing cyberbullying or sexual exploitation, some important differences arise when focusing on the risks rather than on the opportunities that Internet can bring. Using the Internet can be a very healthy and rewarding activity as well as a potentially dangerous and unhealthy experience; it all depends on the user’s awareness, knowledge and intentions.
The CaSMa team at Horizon has been collaborating with Leeds University, the SHM Foundation, and iRights to promote the rights of children and young people online. The result is the iRights Youth Juries an engagement activity to allow children and young people to have a say about their rights on the Internet. At the Youth Juries participants are asked to consider, debate, and share ideas about the future of the Internet while providing useful facts and a safe space to discuss, reflect and deliberate about online data management, online trust, the right to be forgotten, and other Internet-related concerns.
Led by Elvira Perez Vallejos, CaSMa is helping with the organization of the Nottingham-based Youth Juries while conducting a methodological study to optimise the delivery of the juries. Prof. Coleman at Leeds University is leading on the scientific analysis of the statements that are made by the participants, as reflected in the transcripts of the Youth Juries, and contributing to the dissemination of the results to the public (e.g. Web We Want Festival on May 28th-31st 2015), the scientific community (e.g. ETHICOMP 7-9 Sept. 2015) and government.
For further information contact, please contact:
Dr Elvira Perez Vallejos
Jury participant’s feedback:
‘It made me think about how it would be if the Internet would not be around, how different it would be.’
‘I think it was a good experience, I learnt a lot about the Internet. I would not change a thing [about the iRights Youth Juries], I think it was quite interactive and pretty good with the videos.’