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Europe's top tech executives and Commission affirm commitment to collaborate, not compete to improve the internet for kids

Commission Européenne - MEMO/13/504   05/06/2013

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European Commission

MEMO

Brussels, 4 June 2013

Europe's top tech executives and Commission affirm commitment to collaborate, not compete to improve the internet for kids

CEOs and senior board members from the world's digital, media and tech companies (IP/11/1485) have met in Brussels to report directly to Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes on how they are making the internet a better, and safer, place for kids, through the work of the CEO Coalition set up by the Vice-President at the end of 2011.

Children now go online at very young ages, and the CEO Coalition has been working on: strong, simple reporting tools for users who experience problems; a choice of age-appropriate privacy setting; wider use of content classification so users and their parents know what to expect while surfing online; wider availability and use of parental controls; and more effective takedown systems for child sexual abuse material.

Neelie Kroes said: "Children need quality content online, and skills and tools for using the Internet safely. Parents need support. And we are all better off if companies play a leading role in this effort. So we need to join forces for a greater impact. We all agree that making a better internet for children is important, and that it needs to be tackled, synergies between us should be found, in education, in partnerships and elsewhere. Together we should become the ambassadors of child online safety."

Speaking in the meeting yesterday, CEOs repeated the message that when children's issues are concerned, it is co-operation and not competition that counts. They set out a number of areas for further collaboration:

  1. Sharing all their educational material via an online platform so that material produced by one company can be reused, free-of-charge, by any other organisation throughout the EU

  2. Developing a common branding or logo for initiatives across Europe, to scale up efforts and maximise awareness

  3. Involving the hundreds of thousands of people who work for Coalition companies in education and outreach to children. This includes through encouraging staff to talk about how to be safe online in their children's schools.

  4. Working together to raise awareness amongst parents

  5. Broadening best practices beyond the Coalition, to join forces across the whole Internet

See annex and dedicated YouTube channel for examples and video statements from CEOs and senior executives from the Coalition member companies.

This builds on the concrete results delivered by the Coalition during their work in 2012, and being implemented through 2013 and beyond. For example,

  1. All 31 Coalition members now provide parental control tools and/or age appropriate settings.

  2. A Europe-wide database of age-appropriate privacy settings has been established, acting as a one-stop shop for parents, educators and young people themselves.

  3. The coalition process has sped up development of measures and significantly increased levels of awareness of online safety for children.

  4. Pilot on UGC-rating (user generated content), in cooperation with ratings bodies.

  5. Faster development and implementation of reporting tools.

  6. Greater cooperation between companies to learn from each other.

  7. Creation of a technical task force on interoperability, to make online classification labels available across national borders in Europe and beyond and to develop more innovative f user information tools and filter software in general. The full impact of their activities will be seen in Coalition members' products and services by the end of the year.

Background

31 members of the CEO coalition including Apple, BSkyB, BT, Dailymotion, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, France Telecom - Orange, Google, Hyves, KPN, Liberty Global, LG Electronics, Mediaset, Microsoft, Netlog, Nintendo, Nokia, Opera Software, Research In Motion, RTL Group, Samsung, Skyrock, Stardoll, Sulake, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Telecom Italia, Telenor Group, Tuenti, Vivendi and Vodafone.

The commitment was formalised in a statement of purpose and work programme. Here is an earlier report on progress in implementing these actions.

Commission-industry self-regulatory initiatives such as these are part of the European Commission's wider work to deliver a better internet for children. May 2012 the Commission unveiled a strategy to give children the digital skills and tools they need to fully and safely benefit from being online. It also aims to unlock the potential of the market for interactive, creative and educational online content (See IP/12/445).

Today, children in Europe start using the Internet on average when they are 7 years old. One in three goes online via mobile phones, game consoles or other mobile devices. 4 in 10 children report having encountered risks online such as cyber-bullying, being exposed to user-generated content promoting anorexia or self-harm or misuse of their personal data. At the same time, many young children say there are not enough good things for them to do online. They need the skills and tools for using the Internet safely and responsibly.

Annex CEO statements

CEO statements here: http://www.youtube.com/user/BetterInternet4Kids.

Apple

"For many years, Apple has implemented industry-leading, innovative settings and controls that enable parents to protect their children while using Apple products and we will continue to innovate in this area."

Fedele Confalonieri, Mediaset Chairman

"The internet is a fantastic new platform for audiovisual content delivery which, at present, can sometimes be perceived as a dimly lit place. As a professional media outlet, Mediaset intends to be a bit of a beacon in order to guide its users, and above all parents and children, in a safe online environment that both families and advertising clients can trust."

Manuel Kohnstamm, SVP and Chief Policy Officer of international cable company Liberty Global

"We wholeheartedly support Vice-President Kroes’ initiative to create a safer internet for children. We believe that the best way to protect younger users online is to educate and empower them. For this purpose we’ve helped develop information and tools they need to safeguard themselves and manage their online reputation in the future. We continue to be committed to creating a safer environment for children in the online world.”

Christine Albanel Senior Executive Vice President, Orange

"The protection of children online is of great importance to Orange. As a committed contributor to both European Commission and industry initiatives, we look forward to launching new concrete  tools for children, parents and carers that help protect children online, says."

Elliot Schrage, Vice President Communications and Public Policy at Facebook

At Facebook, we want to give everyone the chance to share and connect wit2h the people and things they care about. When all of us can connect with our friends, families  and communities, that’s when amazing things happen. And to keep on achieving all the benefits of being connected, we need to make the Internet a safe, secure environment for everyone – especially young people. That’s why Facebook is proud to be a founding member of Vice-President Kroes’ CEO Coalition to “Make the Internet a Better Place for Children.”

BskyB

Sky has long recognised the trust our customers place in us to make it as easy as possible for them to protect children onscreen and online.   That’s why we enable parents to restrict access to content and channels on the Sky set-top box using secure PIN controls, and why we offer all of our broadband customers free parental control software to install on their PCs and laptops. Since joining the CEO Coalition, I am pleased to report that we have been able go much further by improving awareness of our online parental controls and now all new Sky Broadband customers have an automatic choice to install parental controls when they sign up, and we make it easy for them by making ‘yes’ the default option. Later this year we will launch a new parental control product which will offer protection across all the devices in our customers’ homes that connect to the internet.  We have also introduced default filtering of content inappropriate for children in Sky’s out of home WiFi service, which is used by millions of people to connect to the internet at thousands of hotspots across Britain’s High Streets.

KPN

To make the Internet a better place for children we have, in a Coalition organized and chaired by Vice-President Kroes, demonstrated the importance and strength of sharing information and experiences, focused on the points of action set by the Coalition.  The creative and active use of Internet by Children is a vital one. KPN has promoted positive use of the Internet by its MyBee browser specially designed for children.  The active role and stimulus of the Commission is important as constant reminder that this topic needs attention from public and private organisations in coordinated actions.

Marion Schick, Member of the Board of Management, Deutsche Telekom

"With Deutsche Telekom’s tangible and comprehensive approach for child online safety we are taking over leadership and establish a benchmark in the sector."

Tuenti

TUENTI definitely believe that privacy, security and trust of minors are the key elements that should guide every social network, and we believe that together we can make it happen.

TUENTI has been always at the vanguard of privacy maintaining its commitment and responsibility to respect and protect minors' privacy by making very big efforts through implementing innovative measures and social reporting tools.

Useful links

Digital Agenda site on Better Internet for Kids

CEO coalition

#betterinternet4kids

The Clikkkers and keeping safe online


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