Campaign & framework for full responses that let YP get the most from the web
Participation, protection and provision are the three kinds of rights all under 18s have through the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. And they can be mutually reinforcing rights. For example, greater provision for young people, and better opportunities to make decisions about their environment, and about their own lives, can promote young people's safety and protection.
But - most responses to the children and young people's online lives are much more narrowly based, with concerns about protection often leading to responses based solely on the idea of controlling children and young people's Internet use; or projects providing online content ignoring the rights of young people to shape their online environments, or adopting blunt age-barriers as their approach to protection. Advocacy organisations focussing young people's online lives often emphasise one type of response to the exclusion of others, creating a false dichotomy between opportunity and risk, and leading to partial solutions to the challenge of promoting resilient and successful online lives.
Right Response would be a campaign calling on industry, government and charities to commit to a comprehensive set of actions to support under 18s to make the most of the web, addressing participation, provision and protection together. This would involve them committing to:
(1) Support digital citizenship; (2) Empower young people; (3) Respond to risk; (4) Promote skills and resiliency; (5) Provide positive online spaces; (6) Deliver youth shaped services;
For a youth club or local authority providing Internet access this might mean getting young people involved in determining how any filters should be set up, crowd-sourcing ideas for positive online spaces to promote to young people, and exploring digital skills for peer-support. For an social network provider, this might mean thinking about how under 18s experience the service, and actively including them in the design of features, ensuring that safe opportunities are signposted, and avoiding responses that exclude children and young people from general online communities on the basis of age.
The Right Response campaign would provide a space for organisations to share ideas and strategies for holistic responses to young people's online lives.
The six points above, and the idea to apply a 'Participation, Provision, Protection' framework is based on a paper delivered to the EU Kids Online II conference, and the EU Safer Internet Forum 2011. The framework was well received, but the challenge I'd like to explore through this Simpl challenge is how to refine it further, and turn it into something which organisations could use to take forward better responses to concerns about online safety and online opportunity for young people.