Digital Agenda: Coalition of top tech & media companies to make internet better place for our kids
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28 leading companies have come together to form a new Coalition to make a better and safer internet for children. Put together by the Commission, founding Coalition members are: 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, Sulake, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Telenor Group, Tuenti, Vivendi, Vodafone. Priority actions include making it easier to report harmful content, ensuring privacy settings are age-appropriate, and offering wider options for parental control, reflecting the needs of a generation that is going online at an increasingly young age.
European Commission Vice President Neelie Kroes said: "This new Coalition should provide both children and parents with transparent and consistent protection tools to make the most of the online world. The founding Coalition members are already leaders in children's safety online. Working together we will be setting the pace for the whole industry and have a great basis for fully empowering children online." KROES VIDEO QUOTE HERE
The founding Coalition members have agreed a Statement of Purpose agreeing to take action in five areas:
Simple and robust reporting tools: easy-to-find and recognisable features on all devices to enable effective reporting and responses to content and contacts that seem harmful to kids;
Age-appropriate privacy settings: settings which take account of the needs of different age groups (such settings determine how widely available a user's information is; for example whether contact details or photos are available only to close contacts rather than to the general public);
Wider use of content classification: to develop a generally valid approach to age-rating, which could be used across sectors and provide parents with understandable age categories;
Wider availability and use of parental control: user-friendly tools actively promoted to achieve the widest possible take-up;
Effective takedown of child abuse material: to improve cooperation with law enforcement and hotlines, to take proactive steps to remove child sexual abuse material from the internet.
The Coalition is a cooperative voluntary intervention. The Commission's expectation is that solutions developed by the founding members of the Coalition will be embraced by a growing number of companies, and new members will be welcome.
On average, children in Europe now start going online when they are seven. 38% of 9 to 12 year olds who are online say they have a social networking profile, in spite of age restrictions. More than 30% of children who go online do so from a mobile device and 26% via game consoles.
The Coalition was formed following a call by Vice President Kroes to the ICT sector to step up actions responding to the challenges posed by how young European now go online (SPEECH/11/703).
Founding members include handset manufacturers, operating system providers, Internet Service Providers, broadcasters, social networks and mobile operators. New members will be welcome.
There are deadlines and performance indicators for each of the five areas for action outlined in the Statement of Purpose. In addition, Coalition members have committed to work together alongside the Commission and engage with interested parties such as child welfare and consumer NGOs. The Commission convened earlier this week a group of NGOs in order to create a clear focus for accountability and reporting in the process. The Coalition will review its work in the summer of 2012 and establish by then what subsequent review will be required.