Digital Rights and Responsibilities

by Kirsty George

The Age of Criminal Responsibility and Cyber Bullying

You may think that you know all about keeping yourself and others safe online, but do you know everything? Did you know that the age of criminal responsibility (the age when you can be prosecuted for a crime) is ten years old? That means that by ten years old, you are exected to know what is right and wrong, so you can be prosecuted for things like cyber-bullying and online harrassement. Some people consider cyber-bullying the worst kind of bullying, as you can never get away from it, its in your own home and everywhere you go. It's our responsibilty to stop this from happening to people.

Age Of Consent

The Sexual Offences Act 2003 says that anyone under the age of 16 cannot consent to having sex, as they are too young to make educated decisions. There is no defence if anyone has sex with another person under the age of 16, even if that person is also under that age.


Sexting is when nude or sexual photos are shared between people. This is illegal if either of the people are under the age of 18, as it is counted as being in possesion of an indecent image of a child. It is illegal even if the two people sharing the image are boyfriend and girlrfriend. The person in possession of the picture can be arrested under the Sexual offences Act 2003.

Laws protecting Young People and Harassment

If someone is sexually abusing or acting in a sexual way to a person under the age of 13, this person can be arrested under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, and there are no defences in court for this behaviour. Someone can also be arrested under the same law if someone is acting in a sexual way to a perosn under the age of 16.

Harassment is when someone bullies or is mean to another person based on their race, ethnicity or sexuality. This is against the Protection from Harassment Act 1997.

How to be Safe on Social Networking Sites

Accepting Friends

On social networking sites like Facebook, you must make sure that you only accept friends that you have met in person. Even if someone is friends with lots of your friends on facebook, it does not mean that you know them. They could be anybody.

Even if the person's profile picture makes them look like they are about your age, it does not mean they actually are. It is easy to obtain a fake photo. Some people do this to they can talk to and potentially harass young people.

Uploading Pictures

Only upload pictures that are appropriate, as you never know who could be looking at them. Once you upload a picture to the web, you have no control over it. Never upload pictures of you or your friends wearing your school uniforms, as someone could use that information to work out what school you go to. There is a "no pic forwarding" option on the settings of your profile, which you should use, as it stops people forwarding your photos to people you dont know.

What Information to give out

Some information that you should not post on your profile are:

Your phone numer.

Your home adress.

Locations and details of a party you are going to. If the person was a real friend then they could just call you and find out the details like that.

If someone strange that you do not know has this information, it would be very easy for them to potentially stalk you, or balck mail you.