Have you ever worried about whether the online world is safe for children? Whether it's a safe place for kids to explore, learn and play? Me too. And today there's some excellent news as a new industry coalition has committed to ensuring real and consistent solutions to protect and empower children online. The Internet can be a great place for kids – whether it's to research schoolwork, chat to friends, or look at the latest celebrity gossip, it's somewhere where kids should be able to explore, interact, express themselves, and most of all have fun. But equally we shouldn't be naïve. There are threats and dangers on the Internet for children. From malicious behaviour like bullying—to horrible crimes like child pornography, exploitation and grooming. I'm convinced that kids can have a great time online: and that child safety is everyone's responsibility. I want children, parents and teachers to have simple, transparent and consistent protection tools to deal with these risks while making the most of this online world. Just like in the "offline world", where we don't forbid our kids from ever crossing the street, but we teach them how to do it safely. Kids and adults should be aware of online dangers, able to protect themselves from them, and able to report threats. In this area, regulation – rigid laws coming from Brussels - is not necessarily the right way forward. Self-regulation by the industry can develop tools that are produced more quickly; that react more flexibly given the fast-moving technological environment; and that more effectively achieve the goal of protecting and empowering children online. And that's why I called on the industry to come up with these tools – things like:
- Simple and robust ways to report harmful content
- Respecting kids privacy through age-appropriate privacy settings on social networks
- Tools to classify or age-rate content
- Parental controls and
- Effective takedown, so that child sex abuse material is removed quickly.