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Europe’s new coalition for a better Net for kids

European children “now start going online when they are seven, and 38% of 9-to-12-year-olds who are online say they have a social networking profile, in spite of age restrictions,” the European Commission reports. So it has formed “a new Coalition to make a better and safer internet for children” as part of its Digital Agenda for Europe, the Commission announced this week. The coalition’s 28 founding members include both North American and Europe-based social network providers such as Facebook Tuenti, Hyves, and Sulake; device manufacturers such as Apple and Nokia; mobile carriers such as Deutsche Telekom and Vodafone, and tech and media giants such as Google, Microsoft, and Vivendi. They agreed to “take action” in five areas:

  • Easy-to-find and -use reporting tools
  • Age-appropriate privacy settings
  • Wider use of content ratings
  • “Wider availability and use of parental controls” so parents will use them more
  • Greater cooperation with law enforcement for rapid removal of child-abuse images, or child pornography.

The EC calls the coalition’s formation “a cooperative, voluntary intervention” but with deadlines and performance indicators. “The Commission’s expectation is that solutions developed by the founding members of the Coalition will be embraced by a growing number of companies.” Europe’s version of corporate social norming!

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