Commission wants “better internet for children”
By Manon Malhère | Wednesday 02 May 2012
The aim of a strategy published by the European Commission, on 2 May, is to reinforce online protection for children and teenagers in the EU by adapting the internet to their needs
The Commissioner for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, said: «Kids need simple, transparent and consistent internet tools, and the knowledge and skills to use them. Our initiative brings every type of player together so that children get more of the quality content, services and protection they need to enjoy a positive experience online».
According to the Commission’s figures, 75% of children aged 6-17 use the internet, namely accessing it on mobile telephones. Yet the Commission notes that current recommendations put in place by the member states to improve online safety of children remain insufficient and extremely uneven.
Therefore, even though these measures could have a positive effect on markets and national users, they could also increase the fragmentation of the market in the Union and create obstacles for European suppliers, namely SMEs. “In addition, not all children in the EU enjoy the same levels of empowerment and protection online,” says the strategy.
The action plan is aimed at member states, and above all at the industry, but is not – for now at least – legally binding. The Commission has elected a flexible approach based on self-regulation and partnership, but is not ruling out making regulatory proposals at a later date. The Commission is particularly counting on the cooperation between the various actors involved – as was the case with the coalition to better adapt the internet to the needs of children, one which was established in December 2011 by 26 enterprises from the technological and media sectors (see
Europolitics 4318). The Commission is proposing a plan of action based on four main goals: 1. to stimulate the production of quality online content for children; 2. to scale up awareness-raising and teaching of media literacy and online safety in all EU schools; 3. to combat sexual abuse and sexual exploitation of children; and 4. to create a safe online environment for children. With regard to the last point, proposed actions focus on age-appropriate privacy settings, the availability and user-friendliness of parental controls, and increased use of age and content classification.
The Commission is particularly counting on the cooperation between the actors involved(1) The document is available at
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