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Brussels, 8 February 2005

Safer Internet Day

Today, Safer Internet Day will be celebrated by 65 organisations in 30 countries across the world from Australia to Iceland, and Russia to Singapore. Safer Internet Day 2005, held under the patronage of Information Society and Media Commissioner Viviane Reding, features an Internet adventure storytelling contest for children in 19 countries and 16 languages, to be judged in June 2005. Safer Internet Day is part of a global drive by awareness-raising partners to promote a safer Internet for all users, especially young people. It is organised by the European internet safety network INSAFE, which is coordinated by European Schoolnet and co-funded by the European Commission’s Safer Internet Programme. Other Safer Internet Day activities include conferences, the launch of Internet literacy programmes in schools, media releases on radio and television and the launch of several new Safer Internet websites.

“Parents overestimate their level of knowledge about how to protect their children online. More than 60% of Europe’s parents do not think their children know what to do if a situation on the internet makes them uncomfortable. We are committed to empowering future generations of Europeans to use information and communication technology safely, ethically and effectively” said Commissioner Reding. “The storytelling contest and other activities aim to foster the creative use of information and communication technology, whilst encouraging teachers to deal with internet safety innovatively. This year’s event will build on the successes of last year’s, and I hope that it becomes an annual event. The European Commission will continue to encourage safer internet awareness-raising through the Safer Internet plus programme 2005-2008, as part of a coherent and consistent policy on children and media agreed with the full backing of the European Parliament and the Council”.

The Safer Internet Programme

The Safer Internet Programme has been running since 1999 with a total budget of €38.3 million. Eighty-nine projects, lasting for 2 years on average, have received or will receive co-financing from the EU.

Current projects include:

  • 21 hotlines which allow users to report illegal content. 4 more hotlines are being set up. The INHOPE Association coordinates the network;
  • 16 awareness nodes, dealing with raising awareness of safer use of the Internet, with 7 more being set up. Coordination and training is provided by the European Schoolnet, the University of Central Lancashire and the Norwegian Media Authority;
  • an applied research project for media education covering 9 countries;
  • a quality labelling scheme for Web sites;
  • 2 pilot projects in self-regulation, one to extend content rating to online games and the other to combat spam;
  • benchmarking of filtering software to be carried out following a call for tenders closing on 28 February 2005.

Safer Internet Plus, a follow-up programme scheduled to start at the end of March (see IP/04/1456), aims to empower parents and teachers with internet safety tools. This 4-year programme (2005–08) has a budget of € 45 million to combat illegal and harmful internet content. The new programme also covers other media, such as videos, and explicitly addresses the fight against racism, and e-mail "spam". It will focus more closely on end users: parents, educators and children.

Further information :

Safer Internet Day, INSAFE network, and INSAFE newsletter:

Safer Internet programme:

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