Digital Agenda for Europe: New Strategy for a Safer Internet and With Better Contents for Children and Teenagers
The European Commission has established a plan to give children the digital skills and necessary tools so they can benefit form the digital world with security.
Internet was not designed with children in mind, but today 75% of them use the Internet, and a third of them do so via mobile. The new strategy aims to promote an interactive, creative and educational online content market for children, through the European Commission in collaboration with Member States, mobile operators, mobile phone manufacturers and service providers of social networks.
The Vice President of the European Commission Neelie Kroes said: "I support that all children connect to the Internet, but they need simple, transparent and consistent tools, and the knowledge and skills to use them. Our initiative brings together all of stakeholders to ensure that children get more quality content, services and protection they need, to enjoy a positive online experience."
Meanwhile, European Commissioner for Internal Affairs, Cecilia Malmström, said: "We live in a digital age and younger generations are the most active. These young people are handled particularly well in Internet use, but remain vulnerable to threats. It is our duty as parents to keep our children safe, and that includes the web. We need to strengthen cooperation at European and international level to combat cyber crime. "
The Commission has developed a series of measures, including industry self-regulation, to achieve fast and flexible solutions in the field of Internet security. The actions are grouped around four main objectives:
1- Stimulate the production of creative content and online education for children, and develop platforms that allow access to age-appropriate content
2- Increase awareness and safety education in all schools in the EU and digital literacy of children, apart form self-responsibility
3- Create a safe environment where parents and children have the tools necessary to ensure online protection, including the creation of simple mechanisms to report harmful content on the Internet, setting clear and appropriate privacy, or facilitate the use of parental control software.
4- Fight against child sexual abuse on the Internet by promoting research, and use of innovative technical solutions of police investigations.
4 in 10 children claim to have different risks faced online such as cyberbullying, promotion of anorexia, self harm or misuse of personal data. In 2015 it is expected that 90% of jobs in all sectors will require knowledge of technology, but only 25% of young people across the EU says they have "high" levels of basic Internet skills (such as using the Internet to make phone calls, create a website, or using peer-to-peer file sharing).
Internet and teenagers
A successful European initiative for schools and families is Safe Social Media.
"Stop Violence In social media. Safe Social Media "is a two-year project funded by the European Union in the framework of Daphne III program, which seeks to prevent and combat all forms of violence and aims to promote the appropriate use of social media by adolescents in schools.
This is an international advocacy project being carried out in Italy and Spain, with students aged 10 to 16 years. These students respond to questionnaires that provide insight into how they use social networks, video games and Internet. With the data obtained, there are a series of educational sessions on safety and accountability in the use of technologies. At the same time, parents and schools get a set of indicators and advice on these topics, thus covering the entire cycle of education of adolescents.
Written by Jaime Sanchez-Carpintero