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An even safer internet for children

European Commission - IP/08/310   27/02/2008

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IP/08/310

Brussels, 27 February 2008

An even safer internet for children

Today, the European Commission 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.

“Safer Internet is a good example of a European programme that has direct consequences on citizen’s daily lives: As more and more European children and adolescents use online technologies at home or at school, they, their parents and their teachers need to be informed about the opportunities and risks they face," said José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission. "The European Commission, with the new Safer Internet Programme, wants to pursue its efforts towards creating a safer online environment for our children by promoting self-regulatory initiatives and greater awareness in society. Where there is illegal content online, rapid and determined action by public authorities will be ensured by strengthened reporting systems.”

“The EU has greatly contributed to making the Internet a safer place for children in the past years, but the job is not finished yet," added EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding. "Rather, the need for action is increasing, in response to new uses of the technology. I am convinced that the new Safer Internet Programme will make Europe a model as regards the protection of minors from online and mobile abuses."

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.

Background information:

Today's proposal takes into account the results of a public consultation on Safer Internet and online technologies for children which ran from April to June 2007:

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

It also includes recommendations made by children themselves at the European Youth forum organised by the European Commission for Safer Internet Day 2008 (see IP/08/207).

In addition to the Safer Internet Programme, other political initiatives have taken place with leading mobile phones operators' agreement of February 2007 to develop self-regulatory codes to protect minors using mobile phones (see IP/07/139). More recently, the mobile industry also announced it would shut off all access to child pornography on mobile phones.

For more information:

http://ec.europa.eu/saferinternet


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