The Right to

Every child and young person should have the right to easily edit or delete all content they have created.

Personal experimentation is an essential part of childhood development, yet the internet never forgets and never corrects. It can possess an infinite memory of each individual and all of their online actions. Information is collated and presented, typically without context, regardless of age, time passed or personal circumstance.

Errors of judgment, unhappy experiences and attitudes that were the product of immaturity are saved on the internet long after they have faded from the memory of friends and family. This can make it extremely difficult for young people to get away from their past experience and move on. Online, their past coexists with their present, leaving an outdated, un-contextualised public record.

The exchange of information is an essential component of the digital world. However, it is inappropriate for a third party, commercial or otherwise, to own, retain or process the data of minors without giving them the opportunity to retract it or to correct misinformation.

We believe children and young people should have the unqualified right, on every internet platform or service, to fully remove data and content they have created. This must be easy and straightforward to do.

This does not mean young people would have an automatic right to delete reproduced data or content written or produced by others. Where data or content referring to a child or young person has been created or published by others, the rights of under 18’s must be balanced against the right of freedom of speech. It is however essential that there is an easily accessible route for children and young people to resolve disputes or correct misinformation that does not require recourse to the courts.

It must be right for under 18s to own content they have created, and to have an easy and clearly signposted way to retract, correct and dispute online data that refers to them.

Through the eyes of young people:

“What we post online is permanent”

“If we put some immature content online, it could affect our ability to find jobs.”

“Sometimes people don’t think before they act and they can be mean to someone without knowing and wish to take it down later.”