iRights: Under-18s could soon be able to delete their sketchy social media past, say campaigners

Campaigners want websites to allow young people access to 'delete' buttons for all content they have shared

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The Independent Tech

People should be allowed to delete embarrassing social media posts when they reach adulthood, internet rights campaigners are urging.

The iRights coalition has set out five rights which young people should expect online, including being able to easily edit or delete content they have created, and to know who is holding or profiting from their information.

Highlighting how campaigners believe adults should not have to bare the shame of past immaturity, iRights also wants children to be protected from illegal or distressing pages; to be digitally literate; and be able to make informed and conscious choices.

Baroness Beeban Kidron is leading Government plans to adopt proposals inspired by iRight, which will encourage websites to feature ‘delete’ buttons and to introduce expiry dates for data acquired from under-18s, the Daily Mail reported.

A report by iRights which is set to be published on Tuesday also sets out how the internet can negatively affect young people.

“It is 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,” the report will say, according to The Times.

The campaign’s backers include Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, esteemed academics from Oxford University and the London School of Economics, prominent business figures, and charities including Children in Need and Unicef.

Ms Sturgeon, who recently launched a commission in order for the plans to be adopted in Scotland, told The Times: “We believe that every child and young person has the right to grow up in a safe environment — that principle applies to the virtual world too.”

The push comes after Mhairi Black, the youngest MP in the house since the 17th century, was ridiculed for tweets she posted as a child, including one which read ‘maths is sh***’.

“Smirnoff Ice is the drink of the gods – I canna handle this c—- man!” read another.

The plans are part of a wider push for internet users to regain control of their information, as the European Union will soon introduce legislation enabling adults to demand that images and text posted online when they were under 18 is removed.