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2nd March
2008
  

Safe as Safe Can Get...

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An even safer internet for children

EU flag Anyone who is anyone seems to be studying the internet in terms of protecting children. Here is the EU's contribution

The European Commission has proposed a new Safer Internet programme to enhance the safety of children in the online environment. Encompassing recent communications services from the Web 2.0, such as social networking, the new programme will fight not only illegal content but also harmful behaviour such as bullying and grooming. With a budget of 55 million, the programme, which builds further on the successful Safer Internet programme started in 2005, will run from 2009 to 2013.

The proposed new programme will:

  • Reduce illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online: actions to provide the public with national contact points for reporting illegal content online and harmful conduct, focusing in particular on child sexual abuse material and grooming.
     
  • Promote a safer online environment: fostering self-regulatory initiatives in this field. To stimulate the involvement of children and young people in creating a safer online environment, in particular through youth panels.
     
  • Ensure public awareness: actions targeting children, their parents and teachers. Encourage a multiplier effect through exchange of best practices within the network of national awareness centres. Support contact points where parents and children can receive advice on how to stay safe online.
     
  • Establish a knowledge base by bringing together researchers engaged in child safety online at European level. Establish a knowledge base on the use of new technologies by children, the effects these have on them, and related risks. Use this to improve the effectiveness of ongoing actions within the Safer Internet Programme.

 

22nd June
2008
  

Update: EU Public Consultation...

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Age Verification, Cross Media Rating and Social Networking

EU flag
Age Verification, Cross Media Rating and Social Networking

The European Commission has launched a public consultation titled Age Verification, Cross Media Rating and Social Networking :

The purpose of the public consultation is to gather the knowledge and views of all relevant stakeholders (including public bodies, child safety and consumer organisations, industry).

The gathered information will be fed into this year's Safer Internet Forum 2008 under the topics:

  • Age verification
  • Cross media rating and classification
  • Online social networking.

Deadline to send contributions: 31 July 2008

 

23rd October
2008
  

Update: Safe Internet...

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European internet gets safer for children by $71 million

Euro Parliament logo The European Parliament on Wednesday agreed on a $71 million, five-year plan to protect children from illegal content on the Internet and online bullying.

The Safer Internet program, which runs between 2009 and 2013, will cover Web 2.0 services such as social networking sites Facebook and MySpace as well online multiplayer gaming. It also will fight harmful behavior such as bullying.

The proposed new programme will:

  • Reduce illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online: actions to provide the public with national contact points for reporting illegal content online and harmful conduct, focusing in particular on child sexual abuse material and grooming.
     
  • Promote a safer online environment: fostering self-regulatory initiatives in this field. To stimulate the involvement of children and young people in creating a safer online environment, in particular through youth panels.
     
  • Ensure public awareness: actions targeting children, their parents and teachers. Encourage a multiplier effect through exchange of best practices within the network of national awareness centres. Support contact points where parents and children can receive advice on how to stay safe online.
     
  • Establish a knowledge base by bringing together researchers engaged in child safety online at European level. Establish a knowledge base on the use of new technologies by children, the effects these have on them, and related risks. Use this to improve the effectiveness of ongoing actions within the Safer Internet Programme.

 

13th December
2008
  

Update: Politically Safer...

EU starts a Safer Internet Programme on 1 January 2009

EU flagJThe EU will have a new Safer Internet Programme as of 1 January 2009.

Following the overwhelmingly positive vote on 23 October in which the European Parliament expressed its support for the new Safer Internet Programme, the Council of Ministers has adopted the new Programme. The 55 million  programme will cover the period 2009-2013.

A new Eurobarometer survey shows that 60% of European parents are worried that their child might become a victim of online grooming and 54% that their children could be bullied online.

The proposed new programme will co-fund projects to:

  • Increase public awareness: empower young people, their parents and teachers to make responsible choices online by advising them on relevant precautions to take.
     
  • Provide the public with a network of contact points that could be reached either via a website or a phone number, for reporting illegal and harmful content and conduct, in particular on child sexual abuse material, grooming and cyber bullying.
     
  • Foster self-regulatory initiatives in this field and involve children in creating a safer online environment.
     
  • Establish a knowledge base on new trends in the use of online technologies and their consequences for children's lives by bringing together at European level technical, psychological and sociological expertise.

The 55 million budget for the new Safer Internet Programme will be distributed as follows: 48% should serve to raise public awareness, 34% to fight against illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online, 10% to promote a safer online environment and 8% to establish a knowledge base.

 

10th February
2009
  

Update: Safer Internet Day...

EU announce agreement with social networking sites over child users.

EU flagThe European Commission has marked the sixth Safer Internet Day by unveiling details of an agreement on net safety that many web firms have signed up to.

Under the terms of the agreement the sites, which includes Bebo, Facebook, YouTube, Habbo Hotel and Yahoo! Europe, will take steps to proactively protect younger users.

These include prominent display of a Report Abuse button, switching online profiles of those under 18 to private by default, making profiles of those under 18 not searchable and discouraging registrations from those too young to use a site.

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for information society and media, said the agreement was an important step forward towards making our children's clicks on social networking sites safer in Europe.

In a statement she said the potential for social networking sites to flourish should only happen when children have the trust and tools to stay safe while they use such web destinations. She added: I will closely monitor the implementation of today's agreement and the Commission will come back to this matter in a year's time.

Playing Euro Games

Based on article from gamepolitics.com

We don't have any details on this yet, but the European Parliament has a notation on its website indicating that it will release some type of content and/or retailer guidelines later this week:

Video game safety: The Internal Market Committee will set out a series of recommendations to improve the protection of children from potentially harmful video games on Wednesday.

 

2nd August
2009
  

Update: More Advice...

Council of Europe add their internet advice for child protections

Council of Europe flag The Council of Europe have added to the clamour of organisation making similar suggestions about keeping children safe on the internet. Perhaps better than most with a little more emphasis on identifying safe areas rather than banning adult content.

Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment.

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 8 July 2009 at the 1063rd meeting of the Ministers' Deputies)

  1. Protecting freedom of expression and human dignity in the information and communications environment by ensuring a coherent level of protection for minors against harmful content and developing children's media literacy skills is a priority for the Council of Europe.
     
  2. The risk of harm may arise from content and behaviour, such as online pornography, the degrading and stereotyped portrayal of women, the portrayal and glorification of violence and self-harm, demeaning, discriminatory or racist expressions or apologia for such conduct, solicitation (grooming), the recruitment of child victims of trafficking in human beings, bullying, stalking and other forms of harassment, which are capable of adversely affecting the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of children.
     
  3. Attention should be drawn to the normative texts adopted by the Committee of Ministers designed to assist member states in dealing with these risks and, as a corollary, in securing everyone's human rights and fundamental freedoms...
     
  4. There is a need to provide children with the knowledge, skills, understanding, attitudes, human rights values and behaviour necessary to participate actively in social and public life, and to act responsibly while respecting the rights of others.
     
  5. There is also the need to encourage trust and promote confidence on the Internet, in particular by neutral labelling of content to enable both children and adults to make their own value judgments regarding Internet content.
     
  6. The Committee of Ministers recommends that member states, in co-operation with private sector actors and civil society, develop and promote coherent strategies to protect children against content and behaviour carrying a risk of harm while advocating their active participation in and best possible use of the new information and communications environment, in particular by:
  • encouraging the development and use of safe spaces (walled gardens), as well as other tools facilitating access to websites and Internet content appropriate for children
     
  • promoting the further development and voluntary use of labels and trustmarks allowing parents and children to easily distinguish non-harmful content from content carrying a risk of harm
     
  • promoting the development of skills among children, parents and educators to understand better and deal with content and behaviour that carries a risk of harm
     
  • bringing this recommendation and its appended guidelines to the attention of all relevant private and public sector stakeholders.