Under-18s will be able to delete embarassing social posts

Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn logos on a smartphone screen

iRights is campaigning for a change to social media policies that would allow teenagers and young adults under 18 to delete content from their profiles if they believe they could lead to embarrassment later in life.

The organisation is campaigning along with government supporters to give young people the ability to remove material they have posted if it will prevent them from getting into university or landing a job.

iRights has listed five requests that digital companies should agree to in order to ensure reputations aren't damaged when someone posts content on a whim. It is also campaigning for an open, easily accessible digital marketplace where teens are free to learn.

It says social media account holders should be able to delete pictures and comments easily and they should know who has access to and could be profiting from their information.

Those under 18 should be protected from illegal or distressing pages, they should be empowered to read what they wish, but disengage when they want and be free to access any literature they require online by learning their skills to "use, create and critique digital technologies," the document said.

"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," iRights said.

"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. 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."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.