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EU adopts new Safer Internet Programme: € 55 million to make the Internet a safer place for children

Commission Européenne - IP/08/1899   09/12/2008

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IP/08/1899

Brussels, 9 December 2008

EU adopts new Safer Internet Programme: € 55 million to make the Internet a safer place for children

The 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 (IP/08/1571), the Council of Ministers has adopted today the new Programme. The new Safer Internet Programme covering the period 2009-2013 had been proposed by the European Commission on 28 February 2008 (IP/08/310) to protect children in the ever more sophisticated online world and empower them to safely use web services like social networking, blogging and instant messaging. While 75% of children (aged between 6 and 17 years) are already online and 50% of 10-year-olds have a mobile phone, a new Eurobarometer survey published today shows that 60% of European parents are worried that their child might become a victim of online grooming (when an adult befriends a child with the intention of committing sexual abuse) and 54% that their children could be bullied online (harassed on internet sites or via mobile messages). The new Safer Internet Programme will fight grooming and bullying by making online software and mobile technologies more sophisticated and secure. From 2009-2013, the EU will spend € 55 million to make the Internet a safer place.

"Children today dive into the world of internet and mobile technologies very early and often become fully-fledged technology-savvy, web-surfing teenagers. Because these technologies help them study and give them exciting new ways to socialise with others, they are often faster to use them than their parents. We need to make sure that whenever they use online or mobile services, they can recognise potential risks and deal with them," said Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media. "I am glad that the Parliament and Council agreed to the Commission proposal so quickly, allowing us to respond to parents' very natural concerns and make sure Europe is a safe place for children to explore new technologies."

The Safer Internet Programme, for the period 2009-2013 was adopted today by the Council of Ministers and builds on the successes of its predecessor which covered the period 2005-2008.

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.

According to a new Eurobarometer survey conducted in all EU Member States, 75% of children aged from 6 to 17 years already use the Internet – a trend which continues to grow. Half of the parents who did not use Internet themselves said that their child had online access.

At least half of the parents stated that they talk to their children about their online activities. In addition, they take precautionary measures such as not allowing their children to disclose personal information online (92%) or to talk to people they do not know (83%).

59% of parents declared that they use filtering or monitoring software. Parents who do not use filtering tools say they trust their children (64%) or did not know how to access or use them (14%). The SIP Bench study on filtering tools recently published by the Commission shows that overall tools have improved over the last three years and have become easier to install.

To find out more about the new Safer Internet Programme 2009-2013, see: IP/08/310, MEMO/08/322 and IP/08/1571

For more about the current Safer Internet Programme 2005-2008, see: IP/06/1512 and IP/08/207

The new Eurobarometer survey "Towards a safer use of the Internet for children in the EU – a parents' perspective" is available at:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/sip/eurobarometer/

On Social Networking:

MEMO/08/587

For more information

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/activities/sip/programme/index_en.htm

Annex

Eurobarometer survey "Towards a safer use of the Internet for children in the EU – a parents' perspective"

Children's internet use

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

Mobile phone use

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

Parents' concerns

about online risks

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]

Strategies for supervising children's use of the internet

[ Figures and graphics available in PDF and WORD PROCESSED ]


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