This report is a culmination of our exploration in how Scotland can realise our rights as young people in the digital world, through the gathering of broad and diverse evidence from a wide range of experts and sources, innovative creation of ideas, and careful reflection on the impact of our solutions. During the course of our investigation, we deepened our understanding around digital issues, widened our knowledge around how our rights can be recognised, and had our own beliefs and perceptions about the digital world challenged. We hope that this report shows the wealth of sources that have influenced our thinking, and the passion and hopes we have for a rights-respecting digital world.
The common theme that has emerged, is the need to stop looking at the digital and analogue world in different lights. This is why we have called our report ‘Our Digital Rights’, with the word ‘digital’ scored out. The offline and online worlds are two equal and intertwined aspects of our lives. Our rights are still our rights whether we are on social media or out on the streets; we are still young people that need support and empowerment whether we are on our smartphone or in the classroom. We learnt during our investigation that, for us to understand the world around us, our digital literacy is very much part of our general literacy. Building cyber resilience, is very much part of building our resilience against all risks. Our digital life is really just our life – and our digital rights are not digital at all, they are simply our existing rights as young people.
Rights and responsibilities go hand in hand, and the rights of children and young people are the responsibilities of everyone – including ourselves as young people. We should take the lead in making sure our rights are realised, but we also need actions from our parents, carers, schools, youth workers, industry, and government. It is not a young person’s sole fault that they have had negative experiences online, and adequate support for us does not come only from home or school. We see this as our starting point for a rights-respecting digital world, and we hope that our recommendations can inspire you to take steps into realising our rights in your own work and capacity, and share this responsibility with us in creating a digital world that upholds our rights as its priority.