5Rights takes the existing rights of children and young people (under 18), and articulates them for the digital world. We believe that they should be supported to access digital technologies creatively, knowledgeably and fearlessly.
The inventors of the digital world imagined an environment in which all users would be equal, but in fact, 1/3rd of children globally and 1/5th of users in the UK are children; children who are growing up in an environment that systematically fails to recognise their age, meet their needs or uphold their rights.
In this paper, 5Rights Foundation proposes seven pillars upon which the Government’s Internet Safety Strategy could be built: parity of protection, design standards, accountability, enforcement, leadership, education and evidence-based interventions, in order to make a digital world fit for children and childhood.
A child is a child until they reach maturity, not until they pick up a smartphone
At 5Rights, we work to support children and young people as they explore, play, learn and grow in the digital environment. We do this by:
giving children a voice to articulate their needs and to meaningfully shape their digital environment.
collaborating with designers, computer scientists, child development experts, user experience engineers, and academics to develop prototypes that show how the digital environment can be redesigned in children’s ‘best interests’.
publishing research to build and disseminate evidence on how best to meet children’s development needs online.
sharing knowledge to ensure that those with responsibility for children, including teachers, parents, social workers and policy-makers make informed decisions.
developing a digital literacy framework that tackles questions of motivation, citizenship and digital engagement, alongside discussions of ‘21st century’ skills necessary to flourish in the digital environment.
building a consensus on the need for a global governance structure that would establish universal standards of age-appropriate design online.
The 5Rights Framework articulates the rights and commonly held principles enshrined in the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child (UNCRC) for the digital world. Rights that protect them from commercial exploitation, offer the highest standards in wellbeing and education. Rights that protect them from violence and harm, and give them privacy.
The demand to create a better digital environment for young people is often synonymous with a call to curtail access. 5Rights does not support this view. We welcome the rapid growth of the digital environment but work to ensure that it meets the needs of young people.