Digital Rights
  • Rolle Marquee, University of Plymouth

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This school event will consist of a talk (a lecture), debate and a workshop on youth/children’s digital rights. 

Professor Andy Phippen’s lecture will review recent policy and educational approaches to online safety and contrast that with his own research with young people on how they use digital technology. He will raise concerns around whether the rights of children are being ignored in the drive to ensure they are 'safe' online. 

The talk will be followed by a facilitated debate/discussion and will close with an activity in which pupils will be asked to create their own rights charter. The charters will then be judged and the best charter will be awarded with a prize.

The importance of the awareness of the digital rights

This specific event/topic is highly relevant nowadays as for young people life without information and communications technology seems as unfathomable and quaint as an era before sliced bread (Rallings, 2015). They undoubtedly will receive some form of online safety education in their schools, and many will have their social lives impacted by filtering, monitoring or surveillance applied by adults in their lives justified by the need to keep them safe.

It is sometimes difficult for older generations to properly appreciate just how quickly the environment young people are growing up in today is being changed by technology. Technology, internet and digital world is building, creating and connecting local and international communities and not only influencing our daily social life, it is also shaping and changing (affecting) our working environment. The rapid uptake of digital media globally presents a range of new risks of harms to children (Third, 2016). Nonetheless, amidst the concerns about children’s online safety, new research is beginning to demonstrate and document a broad range of benefits associated with children’s online participation. The research shows that digital engagement can have benefits for children’s formal and informal learning; health and wellbeing; literacy; civic and/or political participation; play and recreation; identity; belonging; peer, family and intergenerational relationships; individual and community resilience; and consumer practices (Swist et al., 2015).

Children’s rights in the digital age are presently undermined by a mix of innocence, ignorance and media pressure. It is for the benefits of economy, society and the whole World to wake and inform the young generation of the positive/negative impact ‘the digital’ environment causes without developing a dysopian view of safeguarding which closes off many of the opportunities afforded by the digital world. Children’s well-being and their digital rights and awareness are interlinked and inseparable features.

If you wish to attend this event please email pbsoutreach@plymouth.ac.uk.

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Today's events

Biography: Professor Andy Phippen

Andy is a professor of social responsibility in information technology at the University of Plymouth. He has worked with the ethical and social responsibility, and how technology impacts in the social world, with companies such as British Telecom, Google and Facebook. In the last ten years he has specialised in the use of ICTs by children and young people, carrying out a large amount of grass roots research on issues such as sexting, pornography, cyberbullying and online harassment. 

He is a research partner with the UK Safer Internet Centre and is a frequent media commentator on children and the Internet.

Biography: Elena Novakova

Elena Novakova acts as the liaison between schools and the Faculty of Business to engage pupils with the faculty's programmes and raise awareness of entrepreneurship education to schools and colleges in the region.

Biography: Sarah Stevenson

Sarah Stevenson is the manager of the Futures Centre for Entrepreneurship and the Talent Hub, and has responsibility for the creation and delivery of co-curricular opportunities for students in Plymouth Business School. 

Sarah ensures the centre provides opportunities and supports the development of social enterprise in the University and beyond.


Biography: Raphael Dennett

Raphael is Entrepreneur in Residence in the Faculty of Business. A BSc (Hons) Business Management graduate of the University, Raphael has started several successful businesses in the South West with a global list of clients.

He teaches entrepreneurship, intrapreneurship, enterprise, start Up, media, learning technology, marketing and business technology as part of his activities with the Futures Entrepreneurship Centre.

About the ESRC Festival of Social Science

(extract from the ESRC* website)

The ESRC Festival of Social Science offers a fascinating insight into some of the country's leading social science research and how it influences our social, economic and political lives - both now and in the future.

You may be surprised at just how relevant the festival's events are to society today. Social science research makes a difference. Discover how it shapes public policy and contributes to making the economy more competitive, as well as giving people a better understanding of 21st century society. From big ideas to the most detailed observations, social science affects us all everyday - at work, in school, when raising children, within our communities, and even at the national level.


Everyone - from schoolchildren to politicians - can take part in and hear about social science research in the festival's many engaging events.

This celebration of the social sciences takes place across the UK - via public debates, conferences, workshops, interactive seminars, film screenings, virtual exhibitions and much more.

Visit the ESRC Festival of Social Science website for more information about the festival.

* ESRC - Economic and Social Research Council.


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