Mobile phone use by children and young people has increased dramatically in the last few years. In Germany, figures for 2005 showed that 92% of 12-19 year-olds and 47% of 6-13 year-olds had a mobile phone. But while mobile phones have many benefits, new risks are also emerging.
A UK survey revealed that 14% of children had been bullied via their mobile – 10% of respondents said that unpleasant pictures had been taken of them and 17% feared that pictures of them had been posted online and forwarded to others.
People clearly need to be more aware of the issues surrounding safer internet and mobile phone use, a fact stressed recently by the EU in a public consultation on child safety. The Safer Internet campaign aims to respond to this need and hopes to reach parents, carers, teachers and the children themselves.
The highlight of the day will be the results of a competition to create internet safety awareness material that will be showcased during a worldwide blogathon. The competition involves more than 200 schools in 29 countries, all paired up to create safety material on one of three themes – e-privacy, netiquette, and the power of images.
Safer Internet Day is an annual event organised by the European Internet Safety Network INSAFE, co-funded by the EU's safer internet programme and supported by the EU's media commissioner Viviane Reding.