Friday, February 29, 2008

Good on you O2 and good on the European Commission and its Safer Internet programme

Two good bits of news around safety of Children online and on their phones !

In 2006 O2 set out to ensure that O2 consistently delivers real, useful, practical, honest advice to customers about online child protection. We are delighted to learn from Ofcom this week that O2 has established a "clear lead" over the other mobile networks in the provision of child protection advice to customers. Over the last six weeks, Ofcom conducted mystery shopping and calling research as part of their review of the UK Content Code.

The European Commission have proposed a new Safer Internet programme to enhance the safety of children in the online environment. Encompassing recent communications services from the Web 2.0, such as social networking, the new programme will fight not only illegal content but also harmful behaviour such as bullying and grooming. With a budget of €55 million, the programme, which builds further on the successful Safer Internet programme started in 2005, will run from 2009 to 2013. The proposed new programme will:

* Reduce illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online: actions to provide the public with national contact points for reporting illegal content online and harmful conduct, focusing in particular on child sexual abuse material and grooming.

* Promote a safer online environment: fostering self-regulatory initiatives in this field. To stimulate the involvement of children and young people in creating a safer online environment, in particular through youth panels.

* Ensure public awareness: actions targeting children, their parents and teachers. Encourage a multiplier effect through exchange of best practices within the network of national awareness centres. Support contact points where parents and children can receive advice on how to stay safe online.

* Establish a knowledge base by bringing together researchers engaged in child safety online at European level. Establish a knowledge base on the use of new technologies by children, the effects these have on them, and related risks. Use this to improve the effectiveness of ongoing actions within the Safer Internet Programme.

The fact sheet about the programme can be found at

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