Statement by Ryan Heath on Safer Internet Day
End production: 04/02/2013 First transmission: 04/02/2013
On Ryan Heath, Spokesperson of Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Digital Agenda, made a statement for the 10th "Safer internet day" which is celebrated on 5th February. The theme of the campaign is "Online rights and responsibilities", users are encouraged to "Connect with respect". Safer Internet Day is organised each year to promote safer and more responsible use of online technology and mobile phones, especially amongst children and young people across the world. On this occasion, the Commission presented the results of joint work of media, technology, telecoms and online companies undertaken since their December 2011 commitment to make the internet a better and safer place for kids. 29 leading companies involved in this self-regulatory exercise have reported on how they will collectively set a new benchmark for child protection online. As a result of their commitments, all devices including smartphones, tablets, computers and games consoles could be equipped with parental control tools and screens with simple tools for users to report harmful content and contact. The industry is also working to ensure that parents are aware of, and make use of, these tools. In addition, best practices have been established in terms of age-appropriate privacy settings and effective take down of child abuse material. Also very promising is the commitments received on technology tools to promote wider use of content classification. Commitments will be deployed during 2013.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Soundbite by Ryan Heath, Spokesperson of Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the EC in charge of Digital Agenda, (in ENGLISH): All around the world people are celebrating and raising awareness for safer internet day because we want to do two things: supporting children who are going online and make sure they are protected. But we also want to empower them so they have got the right knowledge and the right thinking to make good choice when they are going online. And that is increasingly important because the average age for going online now in EU is 7 years old. So a lot of people are using social networks, even below the official age limit. And you have a lot of people being exposed to this and we want them to be ready in the same way that they would be ready when they are going to return from school or dealing with strangers.
||Soundbite by Ryan Heath (in ENGLISH): So, the theme of today's safer internet day is "connect with respect". The point there is to get the message across that you should think carefully about what you tell people on line, what you about yourself show online and how you treat other people when you are online. If you are not willing to say it to somebody's face, you shouldn't say it online, that is a good test for anyone of any age to apply how they behave on internet.
||Soundbite by Ryan Heath (in ENGLISH): We have been working with the CEO's of about 30 technology companies, all the biggest technology companies in EU and America to do some very concrete things. Things like putting in more parental controls, so that they can be a better influence over what the internet is in your home environment; putting in privacy settings that don't expose children to too much information or expose themselves at too early an age; giving content ratings to different games and other material. So you get a sense of is it for growing-ups, is it for children? And making sure that people have the right support if they think they are victims of abuses or bullying. Things like hotlines and other places where you can ask questions and get the bullying to stop.
||Soundbite by Ryan Heath (in ENGLISH): So what the European Commission is doing now is working with the companies on a voluntary basis. And we have said that if we don't get the improvements that we are looking for, then, we would resort later on to regulation and other legislation. But at the moment the progress is good. We have got a lot of cooperation from the big companies from the Facebooks, the Googles, the Apples, all the big mobile phone companies, TV providers, everybody is making a good effort at this point. It doesn't mean we have done enough; we will push these companies to do more over the coming months throughout 2013. But we have made a good start and we like the progress that we have seen so far.