Thursday, 3 May 2012

Children online

Within the Digital Agenda the European Commission set out a plan for introducing better online content for children as well as for protecting them from harmful sides of digital world. According to the gathered data today 75% of children use the internet, a third of them on mobile phones. Right now there are varying degrees of protection of children online applied across Member States, which makes it difficult for businesses to market child-friendly services and products in the EU, as well as to protect children using the same measures in the EU. The European Commission suggests certain measures that could be introduced, e.g., through self-regulation of the industry. It will be enforced partially by the Coalition to make a better internet for children which was set up in December 2011.
"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. While by 2015 it is expected that 90% of jobs across all sectors will require technology skills, only 25% of young people across the EU say they have "high" levels of basic Internet skills (such as using the Internet to make phone calls, create a web page, or use peer-to-peer file sharing)." (Digital Agenda: New strategy for safer internet and better internet content for children and teenagers)

The initiative revolves around 4 goals:

1. Delivering high quality content online
- by stimulating production of creative and educational online content for children
- by promoting positive online experiences for young children

2. Increasing awareness and empowerment of children
- teaching online safety, digital and media literacy in schools
- scaling up awareness activities and youth participation
- designing simple and robust reporting tools for internet users

3. Creating a safe environment for children online
- age-appropriate privacy settings
- parental control tools
- age rating and content classification
- online advertising and overspending

4. Fighting against child sexual abuse and exploitation
- faster and systematic identification of material disseminated through various online channels, notification thereof and takedown of the websites
- cooperating with international partners to fight against child sexual abuse and exploitation

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