(OII) The interests of advocates of online child protection and freedom of
expression have often been portrayed as diametrically opposed. The OII
invited advocates on both sides of this debate to meet in October 2009, in
order to open channels of communication, explore different perspectives on
the fundamental rights of protection and freedom, and map areas of agreement
and difference. A report of the discussions, including participant position
papers, is now available. Issues discussed at the forum included content blocking and filtering, government legislation and law enforcement, and parental involvement and
education. There was also discussion of location-based services, data
protection and privacy, liability of Internet Service Providers, age
verification online, lawful interception legislation, appropriate
classification of written content and pseudo-images of sexual abuse, and
(Berkman Center) The Youth and Media Policy Working Group Initiative's response to the FCC's Notice of Inquiry (09-94) on "Empowering Parents and Protecting Children in an Evolving Media Landscape". The response synthesizes current research and data on the media practices of youth, focusing on three main areas: 1) Risky Behaviors and Online Safety, 2) Privacy, Publicity and Reputation, and 3) Information Dissemination, Youth-Created Content and Quality of Information. See also submission by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.
(Heise) Die Staatskanzleien der Bundesländer haben den jüngsten Entwurf für einen neuen Jugendmedienschutzstaatsvertrag (JMStV) auf den Gesetzgebungsweg gebracht. Die Schlussfassung soll den Ministerpräsidenten plangemäß in deren Sitzung am 25. März vorgelegt werden. Die derzeit anstehende Novelle soll für eine Vereinheitlichung des Jugendschutzes auf Bundes- und Länderebene sorgen. Gleichzeitig wurde das Zusammenspiel der Selbstregulierung durch Brancheninstitutionen (etwa die Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia) und der staatlichen Aufsicht im Rahmen der "regulierten Selbstregulierung" neu justiert. Dabei wurden auch Internetanbieter wie Social Networks ins Auge gefasst. Große Hoffnungen setzen die Länder auf technische Maßnahmen und den "Rating-und-Filtering-Ansatz", nach dem Inhalte von Anbietern gekennzeichnet und so etwa durch Software auf dem PC der Minderjährigen gefiltert werden können.werden also privilegiert. siehe auch Kennzeichnung von Internetinhalten als Teil des "technischen Jugendschutzes".
(Home Office) An independent review into the sexualisation of young people has been published. The author, psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos was commissioned by the Home Office to look at how sexualised images and messages may be affecting the development of children and young people and influencing cultural norms. She also examined the evidence of a link between sexualisation and violence. Key recommendations include: launching an online 'one-stop-shop' to allow the public to voice their concerns regarding irresponsible marketing which sexualises children; encouraging the Advertising Standards Agency to take steps to extend existing regulatory standards to include commercial websites; requiring broadcasters to ensure music videos featuring sexual posing or sexually suggestive lyrics are only broadcast after the watershed; ensuring games consoles are sold with parental controls already switched on. Purchasers can then choose to unlock the console if they wish to allow access to adult and online content
(Hans-Bredow-Institut) Im Dezember 2009 haben die Länder den Arbeitsentwurf einer JMStV-Novellierung vorgelegt. Hierzu hat das Hans-Bredow-Institut offiziell Stellung genommen und die vorgeschlagene Novelle vor dem Hintergrund der wissenschaftlichen Evaluationsergebnisse kommentiert.
(O1.net) Ce site permet de regarder de manière aléatoire d'autres internautes qui se filment avec une webcam. L'association e-enfance alerte sur les risques de se retrouver face à des exhibitionnistes.
(Guardian) The debate over how to protect children from sexualisation intensified as David Cameron promised to clamp down on irresponsible advertising agencies, and the government indicated that it plans to tighten regulation of online adverts targeting children. Cameron announced that a Tory administration would withdraw all government advertising for three years from agencies that design adverts aggressively marketing their products to children. The Tories would ban the practice of peer-to-peer marketing techniques targeted at children, and also work with headteachers to terminate contracts between schools and vending machine firms. Ben Bradshaw, the culture secretary, and Ed Balls, the children's secretary, met the Advertising Standards Authority last month to impress upon the body the need to regulate advertising aimed at children on the internet. The committee of advertising practice is expected to announce next month that it will extend the ASA's remit to the internet.
(CENT New.com) by Larry Magid. MTV's half-hour special, "Sexting In America: When Privates Go Public," is a good reminder for teens that taking and sending nude pictures is never a good idea. The program, which is aimed at teens, explores the consequences - to one's emotions, reputation, and legal standing - in posing for, taking, distributing, or forwarding nude pictures by cell phone or computer.
(Pew Internet) As texting has become a centerpiece in teen social life, parents, educators and advocates have grown increasingly concerned about the role of cell phones in the sexual lives of teens and young adults. A new survey from the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging, a practice also known as "sexting"; 15% say they have received such images of someone they know via text message.
(CNET) Sending explicit content, such as naked or near-naked photos, via text message - a phenomenon also known as "sexting" - is a familiar phenomenon among some teens, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center. Older teens, especially those who foot their own cell phone bills, are much more likely to send and receive these images. While 8 percent of 17-year-olds with cell phones have sent a sexually provocative image by text, this number goes up to 17 percent among those who pay their bills themselves. In all, 30 percent of 17-year-olds have received explicit images on their phones. The survey also shows that while the exchange of nude images mostly takes place among romantic partners or potential partners of the same age, these images are also forwarded to non-partners or people in different age groups.
(Net Family News) The Federal Trade Commission has sent to Congress its close study of 27 online virtual worlds - 14 for children under 13 and 13 aimed at teens and adults - looking at the level of sexually explicit and violent content and what the VWs were doing to protect children from it. The FTC found at least one instance of either sexually or violently explicit content in 19 of the 27 worlds. Half the explicit content found in the teen- and adult-oriented virtual worlds was text-based, while the other half appeared as graphics, occasionally with accompanying audio. Measures these VWs surveyed take to keep minors away from explicit content included "age screens" designed to keep minors from registering below a site's minimum age; "adults only" sections requiring subscriptions or age verifications; abuse reporting and other flagging of inappropriate content; human moderation; and some filtering technology. See also FTC Press Release .
(CNET News.com) by Larry Magid. New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced that more than 3,500 sex offenders from his state have been purged from Facebook and MySpace. Both companies have long had policies against registered sex offenders using their services, but the implementation of New York's new Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act ("E-Stop") has made it easier for the sites to identify perpetrators from the Empire State. Facebook, according to Cuomo, was able to identify and disable the accounts of 2,782 registered sex offenders. MySpace deleted 1,796 accounts
(eNACSO) eNACSO launches its digital manifesto at the fourth Internet Governance Forum (IGF) in Egypt on the 14 November 2009. This manifesto includes recommendations to governments, industry and other stakeholders on how to create a safer online environment for children and young people. The European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online is a network consisting of children's rights NGOs from across the EU working for a safer online environment for children.
(RADID) The world celebrates the 20 th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). To highlight the joint commitment to the principles of the UNCRC, the European Commission, UNICEF and UNRIC will jointly mark the 20 anniversary of the adoption of the Convention.
(Council of Europe) In a recommendation, the Parliamentary Assembly calls on the member states to increase protection for minors who use Internet and online media services, particularly through the use of parental filter systems. PACE also urges the member states to support the creation of secure, restricted-access networks which filter content harmful to minors and comply with codes of conduct. In addition to technological solutions, the Assembly favours measures to raise public awareness, focusing on the risks and opportunities for minors using Internet and online media services. It also recommends that the Committee of Ministers work towards ensuring greater legal responsibility of Internet service providers for illegal content, and that it call on the member states which have not yet signed the Convention on Cybercrime and its Additional Protocol to do so without delay.
(BBC) A survey of children's web habits shows that "sex" and "porn" are among the top 10 most-searched terms. The study logged webpage visits through security firm Symantec's OnlineFamily.Norton, a web-monitoring service for parents. Video website YouTube topped the list, as did search engines Google and Yahoo, along with social networking sites Facebook and MySpace. The survey scanned 3.5 million searches between February 2008 and July 2009.
(Council of Europe) Recommendation CM/Rec(2009)5 of the Committee of Ministers to member states on measures to protect children against harmful content and behaviour and to promote their active participation in the new information and communications environment.
(Google European Public Policy Blog) As a host for other people's content, YouTube aims to be a strong platform for free expression, while respecting individual choice and protecting young people from inappropriate content and exploitation. Over the past year, we've bolstered our efforts in four major areas: (1) developing clear policies about what is and is not acceptable on the site; (2) constructing robust mechanisms to enforce these policies; (3) rolling out innovative product features that enable safe behaviour; and (4) upping our educational efforts to increase user awareness of how to stay safe on the site.
(BBC) Several high-profile authors are to stop visiting schools in protest at new laws requiring them to be vetted to work with youngsters. Philip Pullman, author of fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, said the idea was "ludicrous and insulting". Former children's laureates Anne Fine, Michael Morpugo and illustrator Quentin Blake have hit out at the scheme which costs £64 per person. The Home Office says the change from October will help protect children. Anyone who has "more than a tiny amount" of contact with children or vulnerable adults will have to sign up to the Vetting and Barring Scheme before November 2010. But the authors, including fantasy writer Mr Pullman, say they have worked in schools for years without ever being left alone with children.
(PC World) Asus and Disney have combined their expertise in computers and cartoons to produce a Disney-themed netbook called the Netpal. It has plenty of parental control options; parents can restrict their children's access to particular sites or programs, limit e-mail correspondence to certain addresses, set different permissions corresponding to different scheduled times and even provide statistics on what users are doing online. You can also figure out how much time the kids are spending playing Flash games when they're supposed to be studying.
(Audtralian IT) Marketers are joining children in turning off the television and shifting their advertising attention to the unregulated world of the internet. There they are creating new levels of interaction with their consumers while raising deeper concerns with web-challenged parents. Social networking sites, game pages and video portals are becoming the preferred choice for brands that at once are providing large chunks of content while also gaining valuable information about growing consumers.
(INSAFE) Science fiction author and prominent blogger Cory Doctorow discusses the relationship between "SEXTING" and information diffusion. He suggests various ways we can demonstrate the viral spread of information to young people so they are aware how quickly photos and video spread once released onto the Internet. This film posted on YouTube is an outtake of a film produced for a training event in Rome, May 2009. Full film will be uploaded soon. Filmed and edited by the Insafe Team
(ITU) ITU, within the context of the Child Online Protection Initiative, together with MIC Japan is organizing a Strategic Dialogue on Safer Internet Environment for Children that will be held on 2-3 June in Tokyo, Japan. The Tokyo Strategic Dialogue will provide a platform for policy-makers, regulators, industry representatives, research and academia to exchange views, experiences and good practices on key policy and strategy issues in the area of child online protection. It will also examine the dimensions of child e-safety, including information about the dangers facing children online, the tools presently available to reduce the risks to them, including current, new and emerging ICTs and finally, recommendations and key activities which could be undertaken in this area. see Draft Programme
(BBC) A controversial database which holds the details of every child in England has become available to childcare professionals for the first time. ContactPoint, a response to Lord Laming's report following the death of Victoria Climbie, is beginning its national roll-out in the north west. But the system, costing £224m, has been delayed twice amid data security fears. The government says it will enable more co-ordinated services for children and ensure none slips through the net. It will hold the details of 11 million children and young people aged up to 18 years. 390,000 people will have access to the database, but will have gone through stringent security training
(ITU) Guidelines for the protection of children in cyberspace were presented as drafts for discussion on 18 May in connection with the theme for the 2009 World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. The draft guidelines will be reviewed at the Strategic Dialogue on Safer internet Environment for Children in Tokyo, 2?3 June. The final Guidelines on Child Online Protection will be issued at ITU TELECOM WORLD, 5-9 October 2009 in Geneva, Switzerland. Comments will be accepted until 30 June 2009. see Draft Guidelines for Children; Draft Guidelines for Parents, Guardians and Educators; Draft Guidelines for Industry; Draft Guidelines for Policy Makers. See also ITU Press Release.
(BBC) It may seem like harmless fun to a 15-year-old wanting to impress their new boyfriend or girlfriend. But the practice of sexting - sending nude or semi-nude images of oneself to others via mobile phones - is having unintended and, in some cases, tragic consequences. The risk of having one's private pictures distributed among schoolmates or uploaded on to social-networking websites is only one part of it. It could also lead to a criminal conviction as a sex offender for any teenager who forwards them on to someone else.
(Press Release) U.S. Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) announced the Online Safety and Technology Working Group - a working group dedicated to keeping children safe on the Internet. More than two dozen private sector and child and family advocacy leaders will help evaluate industry efforts to protect the privacy and safety of children and families online. Hemanshu Nigam, MySpace/Fox Interactive Media, and Ms. Anne Collier, Net Family News/ConnectSafely.org will act as Co-Chairs of the Group.
(Press Release) A new survey from the marketing consultancy and research company, AK Tweens, shows an alarming trend among tween girls - sexting. Believed by most experts and parents to be a "teen" only problem, the survey revealed that 30% of tween girls - many as young as 10 years old - are "sexting" - sending, receiving and/or posting sexy messages/photos (e.g. photos of themselves in their underwear, or without clothes, messages of a sexual or suggestive nature) online and via cell phone/email.
(CZ Presidency) The Czech Ministry of the Interior in cooperation with the European Commission organised a ministerial conference Safer Internet for Children - fighting together against illegal content and conduct on-line in Prague on 20 April 2009. The Czech Republic was represented by Minister of Interior Ivan Langer and the Police President, Oldřich Martinů. The conference was dedicated to the process of improving cooperation between all stakeholders in the field of promoting safer Internet and mobile communications, especially for children. At the end of the conference the participants adopted the Prague Declaration.
(Dail Mial) What teenage girls really get up to on the internet should chill every parent. Like a real porn star, Becky is heavily made up and lying naked on the bed as the camera flashes. She could be just another glamorous model as she poses provocatively with practised moves. But she isn't. Shockingly, Becky is just 17 and still at school. She's filming herself in a friend's bedroom in a large, detached house in leafy suburbia as her schoolfriends party downstairs. Becky has not been coerced into this degrading behaviour. She is posing on her own, taking photographs of herself not for profit - but for attention. Welcome to the deeply alarming new world of privileged British teenagers who have a growing obsession with pornography.
I discovered this trend - one which will horrify parents everywhere - during a BBC Radio 4 investigation into online pornography.
(ITU) The purpose of World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is to help raise awareness of the possibilities that the use of the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICT) can bring to societies and economies, as well as of ways to bridge the digital divide. 17 May marks the anniversary of the signing of the first International Telegraph Convention and the creation of the International Telecommunication Union. Theme 2009: Protecting children in cyberspace. The theme of this year's WTISD aims at ensuring that children can safely access the Internet and its valuable resources without fear of falling prey to unscrupulous predators in cyberspace.
(Laurence Kaye Solicitors) From October this year, if you operate a website which has interactive features used by children, you will be required to vet new staff you employ to act as moderators on the website. This means that their names must be registered with the Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA), a public body which has been set up to prevent unsuitable people from working with children.
(NMA) The hugely popular micro-blogging site Twitter is a child safety and privacy disaster waiting to happen, according to online safety experts. The site - which has had a yearly 974% jump in UK traffic alone and attracts between 4m and 6m people, including celebrity twitterer Stephen Fry - is open to abuse if it fails to effectively self-moderate. Online safety experts have raised concerns and are calling for swift action to head off trouble for the fast-growing site, which already hosts brands such as British Airways, Dell and Penguin. Twitter's terms state users must be 13 or over, but it doesn't offer a 'report abuse' button or explicit ways to flag offensive material or monitor sexually explicit and racist behaviour and links to adult sites. new media age uncovered links to prostitution and escort services, cannabis seed shops and racist and pornographic material on Twitter.
(NetFamilyNews) I've been reading social media scholar danah boyd's PhD dissertation, Taken Out of Context: American Teen Sociality in Networked Publics, the result of her 2.5-year enthnograpic study of how teens use social-network sites. The study is unique in a couple of ways: she was like an embedded reporter, not a data cruncher, and she approached her fieldwork very differently than most adults - "with the belief that the practices of teenagers must be understood on their own terms."
(Heise) Die Zentralstelle der Bundesländer für den Jugendschutz im Internet erhält künftig deutlich mehr Geld. Auf Initiative von Rheinland-Pfalz beschloss die Jugendministerkonferenz, jugendschutz.net künftig mit 350.000 Euro im Jahr zu unterstützen. Damit bekomme die in Mainz ansässige Organisation jährlich 95.000 Euro mehr aus Haushaltsmitteln der Länder als bislang, teilte das rheinland-pfälzische Bildungsministerium heute mit. In der Folge verdoppelten die Landesmedienanstalten ihre festen jährlichen Zuwendungen an jugendschutz.net auf rund 500.000 Euro pro Jahr.
(Irish Times) Parents can help protect their children and teenagers from mobile phone-based bullying, according to a new guide produced by the Irish Cellular Industry Association (ICIA). The mobile operators in Ireland - Vodafone, O2, Meteor and 3 - have come together to publish Mobile phones: A parent's guide to safe and sensible use. The booklet warns that young people using mobile phones can be bullied, communicate with people they should not, view online content that is unsuitable for their age and waste money. However, when the owner of an account is a child, operators offer parents a service called "dual access". This means parents can check the numbers their child has been calling and texting, and keep an eye on the amount of money spent. Parents can also ask operators to block certain services.
(Press Release) Failure to understand the real challenge of protecting children on the internet has reduced the impact of global internet discussions, according to European child rights NGOs. While welcoming a higher than ever profile for children's issues at the UN's 3rd Internet Governance Forum (3-6 December), the European NGO Alliance on Child Safety Online (eNACSO) has criticized a low level of understanding of children's right to protection among some other key stakeholders. Speaking in the Forum plenary session, eNACSO representative John Carr emphasized the responsibility of industry in making the internet a safer place for children. Parents must not be left on their own to put in place complex technical solutions to keep their children safe.
(New York Times) Law enforcement officials want popular sites, like the social network MySpace, to confirm the identities and ages of minors and then allow the young Web surfers to talk only with other children, or with adults approved by parents. But performing so-called age verification for children is fraught with challenges. Nevertheless, over the last year, at least two dozen companies have sprung up with systems they claim will solve the problem. Surprisingly, their work is proving controversial and even downright unpopular among the very people who spend their days worrying about the well-being of children on the Web.
(IDG News Service) The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), in collaboration with several U.N. agencies, has launched an initiative to safeguard children, the Internet's most vulnerable users. Called Child Online Protection (COP), the initiative will bring together partners from all sectors of the international community with the aim of creating a safe and secure online experience for children everywhere.
(Europa) The European Forum on the Rights of the Child is a permanent group chaired by the European Commission aiming to promote children's rights in EU internal and external action. In order to ensure effective representation of civil society at the Forum, Civil society organisations have launched a call for interest. NGO's can submit their application up to 14th of November 2008. The European Commission has agreed to host the call for interest on its website but is not involved in the selection process. Call for nominations (PDF File 19 KB)
Selection criteria (PDF File 25 KB)
(RAPID) The European Parliament cast an overwhelmingly positive vote on the report drafted by MEP Roberta Angelilli which supports the launch of a new EU Safer Internet programme. The 5-year programme (2009-13), proposed by the European Commission last February, will have a budget of € 55 million to combat illegal online content but also to tackle illegal and harmful conduct such as grooming and cyberbullying.
(Heise) Ein Jahr nach der Unterzeichnung einer Selbstverpflichtung für mehr Jugendschutz durch Mobilfunkanbieter und die Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter (FSM) ziehen die beteiligten Unternehmen positive Bilanz. Die vom rheinland-pfälzischen Jugendministerium initiierte Selbstverpflichtung sei erfolgreich umgesetzt worden, teilte die FSM mit.
(EDRI-gram) Viviane Reding, Commissioner for Information Society and Media, gave her first public speech on social networks at the Safer Internet Forum on 26 September 2008, which confirms the interest of the EU bodies on this topic. The commissioner emphasized the growth of the social networks in Europe. While praising their success in promoting cultural diversity and enhanced interactivity and, at the same time, in bringing new economic opportunities for the European industry, Reading mentioned also the new issues raised by the social networks on data privacy and protection of minors. The Commissioner took the stance of self-regulation in relation to social networking and announced that the Commission wants to act as a facilitator: "For this purpose the Commission has convened a Social Networking Task Force, which held two meetings in 2008 with 17 operators of social networking sites used by under-18s (e.g. MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, Bebo, Hyves, StudiVZ, and Skyrock), a number of researchers and child welfare organisations. The objective is to agree on voluntary guidelines for use of social networking sites by children, to be adopted voluntarily by the European industry."
(Department for Children, Schools and Families) Some of the biggest names from industry and charities have joined forces with the Government, parents and young people to help keep children safe online, Children's Secretary Ed Balls and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced. The new UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) will unite over 100 organisations from the public and private sector working with Government to deliver recommendations from Dr Tanya Byron?s report 'Safer Children in a Digital World'. Reporting directly to the Prime Minister, the Council will help to improve the regulation and education around internet use, tackling problems around online bullying, safer search features, and violent video games. This unprecedented coalition of experts and organisations will ensure that parents and young people have a voice in the development of a Child Internet Safety Strategy, to be delivered early next year. List of membersExecutive Board
(BBC) Social networking websites and major technology companies are joining the government in an organisation designed to improve children's safety online. The UK Council for Child Internet Safety is to be launched by Schools Secretary Ed Balls and Home Secretary Jacqui Smith. The council will promote responsible online advertising and will seek to shut down "harmful" websites. It will also develop a voluntary code for websites featuring users' content.
(Europa) "The right of the child to protection" is the title of a competition launched by Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission with responsibility for justice, freedom and security. European children and adolescents between the ages of 10 and 18 are invited to design a poster on the right of children to protection in the European Union. The aim of the competition is to ensure that these young European citizens are more aware of their right to protection and are better equipped to defend it. Those wishing to take part in the competition will have to design a poster illustrating the idea of their right to their own protection in the EU. Participants will be divided into two age categories (10-14 and 15-18) and must work in groups of at least four. Further information may be found on the Internet site www.europayouth.eu, which contains links to the competition site.
(BBC) YouTube has been criticised by MPs, who say it must do more to vet its content. In a review of net safety, the Culture, Media and Sport select committee said a new industry body should be set up to protect children from harmful content.
It also said it should be "standard practice" for sites hosting user-generated content to review material proactively. YouTube's owners said the site had strict rules and a system that allowed users to report inappropriate content. The committee also wants a rethink on how best to classify video games - but there is disagreement over who should run the new ratings system. See Committee recommendations and full report. See also Web firms should screen content, says Parliamentary committee (OUT-LAW News).
(Computerworld) The Communications minister has signaled the Australian government's support for the Content Services Code, an Internet Industry Association code of practice for providers of online and mobile phone content. This establishes a framework for the regulation of content services, such as Internet streaming and 3G mobile services, to provide protection to children from exposure to unsuitable content and ensure content providers adhere to requirements of the new code.
(PC Advisor) 11 percent of children have had a sexually explicit conversation online, according to a survey by The Carphone Warehouse. The Mobile Life survey, which polled 6,000 adults and children about their web and mobile habits also revealed that a quarter of 11 to 18 years olds had visited adult websites and 10 percent had met people they first interacted with online. Almost half the children surveyed admitted they lie to their parents about their online activities, with most using homework as a cover for surfing the net or social networking. Thirty-three percent revealed they would be in trouble if their parents knew what they were really looking at.
(BBC) Children as young as 11 are being given debit cards which allow them to buy goods such as cigarettes and Viagra over the internet, without their parents' permission. The high street bank Lloyds TSB, which sends out the Visa cards to youngsters, last night came under fire from politicians and credit charities for placing children at risk. The bank claims guardians can opt out of the service for their children ? but admits to sending the cards directly to their customers with a parental guidance leaflet which the youngsters should pass on.
(RAPID) The European Data Protection Supervisor (EDPS) has adopted an Opinion on the proposed multiannual Community programme on protecting children using the Internet and other communication technologies. The EDPS fully supports the general orientations of the programme aiming at more efficiently protecting children using the Internet, while adapting to the evolution of new technologies. He stresses the fact that the protection of children's data is an essential first step in guaranteeing more safety and prevention of abuse on the Internet. Data protection considerations should also apply to all persons who are connected in some way with the information circulating on the network to prevent illegal content and harmful conduct (e.g. person reported as suspect, reporting person, victim of abuse). Data protection authorities play a decisive role in the protection of children on the Internet. This should be taken into consideration when it comes to the implementation of the multiannual programme;
any reporting system to be put in place in order to report illegal or harmful content online has to take into account the existing data protection framework. Guarantees related to the supervision of the system, in principle by law enforcement authorities, are decisive elements to comply with this framework; filtering or blocking tools to control access to networks should be used cautiously, bearing in mind their potential adverse effect (e.g. preventing access to legitimate information) and taking advantage of the privacy enhancing opportunities offered by technology; the development of best practices by the industry should be promoted. However, the surveillance of telecommunication networks, where necessary in specific circumstances, should be the task of law enforcement authorities.
(BBC) Children are able to illegally buy violent video games through online auction websites, the UK's Trading Standards Institute has said. Almost 90% of retailers tested by the association sold under-18s games, such as Manhunt 2, through such outlets. Traders supplying games to an under-age person in breach of official classifications can face a fine or up to six months in jail.
(Europa) The European Commission has launched a public consultation on age verification, cross media rating and classification, and online social networking. The purpose of the public consultation is to gather the knowledge and views of all relevant stakeholders (including public bodies, child safety and consumer organisations, industry). The gathered information will be fed into this year's Safer Internet Forum 2008, which will be dedicated to the above mentioned topics. The consultation will be open until 31 July 2008.
(vnunet.fr) A l'Atelier "Protection de l'Enfant" organisé par la secrétaire d'Etat en charge de la Famille dans le cadre des Assises du Numérique, la ministre a déclaré qu'"Il n'y aurait pas de confiance dans l'économie numérique sans protection des enfants sur le Web" et que cette protection devait reposer, "comme une voie ferrée, sur deux rails parallèles : le filtrage des sitespédopornographiques et les logiciels de contrôle parental." Sur le premier point, un accord doit être trouvé entre les différents ministères concernés et les fournisseurs d'accès. Une étude de faisabilité technique a été confiée au Forum des droits sur l'Internet. Nadine Morano a d'ailleurs rappelé son engagement à ce que ces fameux logiciels de filtrage atteignent un meilleur taux de performance. Un dispositif plus lourd d'élaboration du cahier des charges de ces logiciels de contrôle - passant peut-être par une norme Afnor - et de contrôle de ces outils - le processus d'évaluation resterait à définir - devrait être prochainement étudié avec les FAI. Enfin, la ministre a promis pour la fin de l'année une grande campagne audiovisuelle et multimédia de sensibilisation des parents aux dangers d'internet pour les jeunes.
(NetFamily News) The headline may seem a bit inflammatory, but it's a sincere suggestion coming from 10+ years of observing and participating in the online-safety field. What we all know about online youth now from a substantial and growing body of research suggests it's time to reassess. Young people make little distinction between online and offline and move constantly and fluidly between the two. The Internet has increasingly become a mirror of "real life". It's the young people at risk offline who are most at risk online, so expertise in adolescent at-risk behavior is necessary to the discussion. Where people with experience in online safety can help is by educating the public that online safety and well-being is not separate from "real life" and needs the same accountability; educating the public about how the Internet affects real-world actions or comments; serving as information clearing-houses and connectors to the right kind of expertise for predation, bullying, eating disorders, substance abuse, etc.
(Deutsches Digital Institut) Workshop in Berlin am 21. Mai 2008. Teilnehmer u.a. Frank Zimmermann (SPD-Fraktion im Abgeordnetenhaus), Marcus Riecke (studiVZ), Joel Berger (MySpace), Grietje Staffelt (Grünen-Fraktion im Bundestag), Sabine Frank (Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Multimediadiensteanbieter). Die klassischen Instrumente des Jugend- und Datenschutzes werden den Anforderungen der neuen Sozialen Netzwerke nicht gerecht. Dies ist das Fazit des mit hochkarätigen Vertretern aus den Bereichen Politik und Medien, Betreiber und Nutzer der führenden Sozialen Netzwerke besetzten Workshops des Deutschen Digitalen Instituts, Berlin.
(BBC) The parents of Madeleine McCann have backed a scheme to use social networking websites Facebook and Bebo to help trace missing children. The charity Missing People has launched the initiative to coincide with International Missing Children's Day.
(BBC) Authorities in Bavaria, southern Germany, have taken a seven-month-old boy into care after his parents offered him for sale on eBay "as a joke". The unnamed child was advertised as a "nearly-new baby" with a starting price of one euro (£0.80, $1.6).
(Press Release) The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, has announced a targeted plan to create a safer online environment for Australian children. The Government's cyber-safety funding will provide $49 million to law enforcement, ensuring that the Australian Federal Police (AFP) Child Protection Operations Team can expand its capacity to detect and investigate online child abuse, with 91 additional AFP members dedicated to online child protection by 2011. Central to the Government?s plan to make the internet a safer place for children is the introduction of Internet Service Provider (ISP) level filtering of material such as child pornography. The ISP filtering policy is being developed through an informed and considered approach, including a laboratory trial, extensive industry consultation, and close examination of overseas models to assess their suitability for Australia. In addition, the Government is developing a range of measures to help empower children to be responsible online participants. It will provide parents, teachers, trainee teachers, librarians and children with up-to-date, comprehensive and age-appropriate online cyber-safety resources and assistance.
(FT) Club Penguin, the virtual online world for six- to 14-year-olds is rapidly growing into a global phenomenon. Club Penguin has 20m users and analysts estimate up to 10 per cent of them have persuaded parents to pay about £4 a month for souped-up access to the site. Safety features were a big selling point from the outset. Club Penguin employs more than 100 moderators who monitor the site for unsafe behaviour. They are trained to spot bullying, or attempts to share contact details. Pictures cannot be posted on the site. Instead, children are represented by a colourful penguin. Filtering software prevents phone numbers being published.
(Le Parisien) MSN, la messagerie instantanée utilisée par 70 % des jeunes internautes français, lance officiellement aujourd'hui un nouveau logiciel gratuit de contrôle parental. Ce dernier était très attendu par les associations de lutte pour la protection des mineurs sur Internet. Il va enfin permettre aux parents de contrôler - à distance et en direct - tout nouvel « ami » qui voudrait entrer en contact avec leur enfant.
(Reuters) Playing video games does not turn children into deranged, blood-thirsty super-killers, according to a new book by a pair of Harvard researchers. Lawrence Kutner and Cheryl Olson, a husband-and-wife team at Harvard Medical School, detail their views in "Grand Theft Childhood: The Surprising Truth About Violent Video Games and What Parents Can Do," which promises to reshape the debate on the effects of video games on kids.
(Net Family News) "America's young people spend more time using media than they do on any single activity other than sleeping," according to The Future of Children, a joint project of Princeton University and the Brookings Institution. So we all need to know how our children and students use media - the Web, phones, videogames, instant messaging, music, video, TV, etc. - and how they affect their users. The just-released new issue of the project's journal Children and Electronic Media, published semi-annually, "looks at the best available evidence on whether and how exposure to different media forms is linked to child well-being."
(BBC) For many years the average video gamer has been male and aged 24 or more. But casual games and the appearance of the Nintendo Wii have changed that profile and now it looks like it is about to change again. Research suggests that there are about 158 online games and virtual worlds in development or up and running designed specifically for children. See graph
(BBC) Facebook is to add a slew of new safeguards to protect young users from sexual predators and cyber bullies. At the heart of the changes are efforts to ban convicted sex offenders from the site and finding better ways to verify users' ages and identities. The agreement was announced by Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal in a deal along with other attorneys general around America. see also After long negotiations, Facebook agrees to safety plan with state AGs (CNET). Press Release (Attorney-General of Connecticut). Text of agreement.
(RAPDI) The European video games sector is dynamic, with expected revenue of 7.3 billion by the end of 2008. However, public concerns that video games can cause aggressive behaviour, heightened by school shootings such as in Helsinki (Finland, November 2007), have led several national authorities to ban or block video games such as "Manhunt 2". In response, the European Commission has surveyed existing measures protecting minors from harmful video games across the 27 EU Member States. 20 EU Member States now apply PEGI (Pan European Games Information), an age-rating system developed by industry, with EU support, since 2003. In the Commission's view, industry must invest more to strengthen and in particular to regularly update the PEGI system so that it becomes a truly effective pan-European tool. Also, industry and public authorities should step up cooperation to make classification and age rating systems better known and to avoid confusion caused by parallel systems. A Code of Conduct for retailers should be drawn up within two years on sales of video games to minors. See Communication on the protection of consumers, in particular minors, in respect of the use of video games COM(2008) 207 final.
(Los Angeles Times) A coalition of medical groups and child advocates called for guidelines that would prevent Internet companies from tracking the behavior of minors online, contending that many adolescents are divulging more than they realize and aren't digesting complex privacy policies. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Psychological Assn. were among those asking the Federal Trade Commission to encourage the Internet industry to stop profiling young Web surfers by monitoring the sites they visit and the interests they list on social networks such as MySpace and Facebook. Childrens' Advocy Group filing. See also Microsoft not opposed to regulation of online privacy (CNet). See Online Behavioral Advertising: Moving the Discussion Forward to Possible Self-Regulatory Principles Public Comments (FTC).
(IPPR) Many young people are effectively being 'raised online' spending in excess of 20 hours a week using sites such as bebo, Myspace, Facebook and YouTube, according to new research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr). This is over three times higher than previous official estimates. This new research comes ahead of the final report of the Byron Review of children and new technology, set up by Gordon Brown in 2007 and headed by Dr Tanya Byron. See Behind the Screen: the Hidden Life of Youth by Kay Withers with Ruth Sheldon.
(Guardian) Jim Gamble, chief executive of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, has said that some internet service providers were not doing enough to protect children online. "Some people who say they are co-operating aren't," Gamble told the Commons culture, media and sport select committee, but admitted that they were a "minority" of service providers.
(MIT Journals) by Justine Cassell, Meg Cramer. We argue that the current moral outrage and national panic over the risks of victimization faced by girls on the Internet has nothing to do with risks faced by girls on the Internet. Based on historical, cross-cultural, and discourse analyses, we draw four conclusions. Each and every time a new communication technology is introduced, it spurs very public fears on the part of parents and educators, putatively about the effects of that technology on girls' (sexual) innocence. The statistics show that predatory behavior on adolescent girls has a certain profile that has either not changed over the decade since the Internet became popular, or has improved over time. The Internet dangerously unfetters girls' spaces and risks changing our image of what girls can do, and where they can go. This challenges the social order. Girls' masterful use of the Internet also challenges the view that technology is dangerous and an inappropriate interest for girls, and in this sense the moral panic around girls online is a way of policing the relationship between girls and technology.
(Guardian) Food and drink companies should be banned from marketing unhealthy snacks and drinks to young children via new media such as social networking sites and text messaging, a coalition of international consumer groups and health bodies recommends. The group is urging governments to adopt a code that they say would curb the rising obesity rates among children. The code would restrict junk food marketing, including outlawing the use of cartoon characters, celebrity tie-ins, free gifts and competitions aimed at younger audiences.
(Council of Europe) The traceability of children's activities on the internet may expose them to criminal activities (for example the solicitation or "grooming" of children for sexual purposes, discrimination, bullying, stalking and other forms of harassment). Children need to be informed about the enduring presence of, and the risks associated with, the content they create on the internet. The right to privacy and the secrecy of correspondence is not respected on the internet. The profiling of information and the retention of personal data regarding children's activities can be used for commercial purposes. The Committee of Ministers asks member states to work together to explore the feasibility of removing or deleting such content and its traces within a reasonably short period of time. See Full text of the Declaration
(Guardian) A Microsoft executive told MPs that forcing software companies to install internet content filtering technology with high-security settings as standard to all computers would send the UK back to the "dark ages". The idea of forcing companies such as Microsoft to pre-install high security content filters was raised at a Commons culture, media and sport select committee hearing on protecting children from harmful content on the internet and in video games.
(NetFamilyNews) We now have further insights into teens' info-sharing practices in the Journal of Adolescence. According to this, 8.8% revealed their full name, 57% included a picture, 27.8% listed their school and 0.3% provided their telephone number. The authors concluded that "the problem of personal information disclosure on MySpace may not be as widespread as many assume, and the overwhelming majority of adolescents are responsibly using the web site." Personal information of adolescents on the Internet: A quantitative content analysis of MySpace by Sameer Hindujaa and Justin W. Patchin
(Yahoo!7) Social networking websites such as MySpace and Facebook are safer places for children to chat than other types of internet sites, according to a new survey. The survey, which involved 1,588 children between the ages of 10 and 15 years old, found 28 per cent had been harassed via a social networking site, compared to 33 per cent for the internet as a whole. The survey, which was conducted by Internet Solutions for Kids in California and the University of New Hampshire, appears in the prestigious journal Paediatrics.
(Fosters.com) At least one expert and several young MySpace users are somewhat skeptical of a recent agreement between MySpace and the National Association of Attorneys General to tighten security. David Finkelhor, director of the UNH Crimes Against Children Research Center, said there are elements of the agreement that could be "difficult to maintain." See also Key researcher's view on MySpace/AGs accord (Net Family News).
(Guardian) In a survey by the popular teen site Piczo, which offers creative tools to help users customise their profile pages, users said they felt safer online than they did this time last year, despite what many feel are increased safety risks. Piczo's European managing director, Chris Seth, said online safety falls into two areas; access and monitoring. He said Piczo, which claims more than 10m unique users each month, has worked with the Silicon Valley start-up Keibi on the development of monitoring software. This is used in combination with a team of 20 safety officers, who check random pages and also monitor the site for blacklisted keywords and phrases, aided by scanning software. See also Teens 'under false sense of security' online (netimperative).
(BBC) Social networking websites could be "romanticising" suicide, an MP claims after the deaths of seven young people from her area in the past year. Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon will raise internet use issues with police. Mrs Moon said she was growing increasingly worried by the appearance of so-called "memory walls" on networking sites like Bebo, where members leave messages to mark the death of a friend.
(OUT-LAW News) A bill has been introduced in Parliament which would force online retailers to check customers' ages before selling goods that cannot be sold to children. The Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill received its first reading in Parliament on Tuesday when it was introduced by Labour MP Margaret Moran as a private member's bill. Moran said in a speech to the House of Commons that e-commerce provided people under 18 with a loophole, enabling them to buy age-restricted goods such as alcohol, cigarettes and pornography.
(EP Press Release) An EU strategy on the rights of the child won Parliament's backing with 630 votes in favour, 26 against and 62 abstentions. MEPs call for the strategy to include tougher measures to combat paedophilia on the internet as well as steps to counter child sex tourism and enable suppliers of products manufactured with child labour to be prosecuted in Europe. The own-initiative report, drafted for the Civil Liberties Committee by Roberta Angelilli (UEN, IT), is Parliament's response to a Commission communication of 4 July 2006 titled "Towards an EU strategy on the rights of the child". The report restates Parliament's opposition to all forms of violence against children and calls for a specific budget heading for their rights, with which to fund work required by the strategy. Among the European Parliament's many proposals, MEPs call for technical measures to combat the dissemination of paedophile content via the internet. They would also like to involve access suppliers, search engines and even banks, so as to block payment by would-be purchasers of illegal content. In addition, the House wishes to protect children by tightening up rules on the transmission of harmful content via the internet or multimedia messaging services and the sale of violent video games. It would like a uniform classification and labelling system to be created for such games, and for all audiovisual content. Children should be better informed of their rights via a dedicated internet site to be set up for this purpose, argues the European Parliament. The House recommends setting up a European early warning system on child abductions and supports the Commission's plan to introduce a telephone help-line for children. It also urges the creation of a European strategy, and a single EU-wide set of extraterritorial criminal laws, to counter child sex tourism.
(Associated Press) A darkly humorous cartoon showing squirrels hanging themselves and throwing themselves in front of cars has drawn the ire of Romanian broadcasting authorities. But Romanian authorities have no control over the cartoon, because it is broadcast on a channel with a British license. The Romanian regulatory body for television broadcasting said it would make an official protest to the European Commission about the one-minute cartoon shown every afternoon on the British-licensed channel AXN.
(E-consultancy.com) Three of the most popular social networking sites on the Internet are not doing enough to protect their child users, an independent expert audit has concluded. The investigation by web usability consultants at User Vision, one of Europe?s leading independent user experience companies, found that Facebook, Bebo and MySpace all lacked targeted, clear information about online security for under 18s.
(Heise) Mit dem Portal fragFINN.de ist der erste geschützte Internet-Bereich für Kinder in Deutschland gestartet. Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel (CDU) schaltete am Donnerstag in Berlin die Webseite frei, die Zugang zu ausschließlich kindergerechten Angeboten bieten soll. In das "Netz für Kinder" stellt eine Redaktion nur geprüfte Inhalte ein. fragFINN.de soll als Startseite im Webbrowser dienen. Mit einem Browser-Plugin kann zusätzlich der Zugang zu nicht von fragFINN.de genehmigten Seiten verhindert werden; das Plugin steht bislang nur für den Internet-Explorer zur Verfügung, eine Firefox-Version soll in Kürze folgen.
(BBC) More than 75% of parents are concerned about the content of video games played by their children, a survey suggests. Almost half of the 4,000 parents surveyed in the UK, France, Italy and Germany said that one hour of gaming each day should be the limit. Some 43% of the surveyed parents said they were not aware of ratings systems for games to determine suitability. The survey comes as Dr Tanya Byron conducts a separate review of games and their impact on UK children.
Le Forum des droits sur l´internet a publié sa Recommandation « Jeux vidéo en ligne : quelle gouvernance ? ». Cette 25e Recommandation constitue le premier rapport français qui étudie le phénomène du jeu vidéo en ligne dans ses diverses composantes : sociologique, économique et juridique. Il traite de toutes les formes de jeux qui existent en ligne (jeux en ligne massivement multijoueur, jeux occasionnels et consoles de jeu connectées à internet), à l´exception des jeux d´argent.
(Journal of Adolescent Health) Adolescents' access to and use of new media technology (e.g., cell phone, personal data assistant, computer for Internet access) are on the rise, and this explosion of technology brings with it potential benefits and risks. Attention is growing about the risk of adolescents to become victims of aggression perpetrated by peers with new technology. In September 2006, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a panel of experts in technology and youth aggression to examine this specific risk. This special issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health presents the data and recommendations for future directions discussed at the meeting. The articles in the Journal support the argument that electronic aggression is an emerging public health problem in need of additional prevalence and etiological research to support the development and evaluation of effective prevention programs.
(vnunet.com) Revenues from mobile 'adult services' are set to approach $3.5bn by 2010, according to a new report. Juniper Research said that growth will be fuelled by increasing adoption of streamed video and video chat, and a sharp rise in the adoption of 3G services.
(BBC) Millions of young people could damage their future careers with the details about themselves they post on social networking websites, a watchdog warns.
The Information Commissioner's Office found more than half of those asked made most of their information public.
(Anime News Network) The Japanese government's Cabinet Office issued the results of its Special Opinion Poll on Harmful Materials, in which 86.5% of those who responded said that manga and art should be subject to regulation for child pornography, if they had to decide. 90.9% said that "harmful materials" on the Internet should be regulated, if they had to decide. The current child pornography laws in Japan do not regulate manga and art that depict children who are not real, or "virtual child pornography."
(CoE) Twenty-three Council of Europe member states signed the Convention on the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse (CETS n° 201), which represents a major step in the prevention of sexual offences against children, the prosecution of perpetrators and the protection of victims. Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, San Marino, Serbia, Slovenia, Sweden, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Turkey signed the convention at the beginning of the 28th Conference of the European Ministers of Justice in Lanzarote. The convention will enter into force once it has been ratified by five states. The convention also criminalises the use of the new technologies ? the internet in particular ? to sexually harm or abuse children, for example by "grooming", an increasingly worrying phenomenon of children being sexually harmed after meeting adults they have previously encountered in internet chat rooms or game sites.
(Heise) According to the State Media Agency of Lower Saxony (NLM) the Administrative Court in Lüneburg has imposed an order to cease and desist to stop an internet provider from hosting a web page containing about 1400 links, some of them leading to pornographic web sites. According to the NLM, minors are able to access these pornographic offers because no appropriate age verification system is in place.
(New York Times) Facebook, the popular social networking Web site, will strengthen warnings about child safety on its site and said that it would take steps to improve its process of responding to complaints about sexual or inappropriate content. The company agreed to make the changes as part of a settlement with the New York State attorney general, Andrew M. Cuomo, who began an investigation last month into whether the Web site was misleading its users by promoting itself as a place where high school students and younger children are safe from adult sexual predators. The settlement did not include a financial penalty, but Mr. Cuomo said it would serve as a "new model" for other sites to follow. See also Facebook made basic error with poor user safeguards, says lawyer (OUT-LAW).
(BBC) The government is asking for evidence for a new study of the effect of violent computer games on children. Psychologist Tanya Byron will head the study, which will also examine how to protect children from online material.
(Press Realse) IWF intelligence lead to rescue of three prepubescent children being sexually abused and their abuser being sentenced to 60 years in prison. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) provided intelligence to Cybertipline, its sister Hotline in the US, regarding a website which appeared to be hosted in the US and contained images of children being sexually abused.
(Australian) Vodafone Australia will lock children out of its mobile phone chatrooms from early next year in an effort to protect them from sexual predators. The mobile phone carrier has been monitoring its mobile chatrooms to protect children from online predators since late 2004, but it was no longer economically sustainable for the carrier to continue providing the service. The carrier said the chatrooms would be made available only to adults when the company launches its new adult verification system, Parental Lock, which is scheduled to be included on all Vodafone mobile handsets from March next year.