50% of European teenagers give out personal information on the web – according to an EU study – which can remain online forever and can be seen by anybody. Today, Safer Internet Day, the European Commission is passing a message to teenagers: "Think before you post!" It welcomed actions to protect children using social networking websites taken by the 20 companies who signed the Safer Social Networking Principles last year. Most of these companies have empowered minors to tackle online risks by making it easier to change privacy settings, block users or delete unwanted comments and content. Yet more needs to be done to protect children online, the Commission says. Less than half of social networking companies (40%) make profiles of under-18 users visible only to their friends by default and only one third replied to user reports asking for help.

Logo of the Safer Internet Day 2010

“If we want children to think before they post, social networking companies should post the right information using the right language. Last year the European Commission urged companies to act, and I am glad that many have heeded this call," said EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media, Viviane Reding. "However I expect all companies to do more. Minors' profiles need to be set to private by default and questions or abuse reports have to receive quick and appropriate responses. The internet is now vital to our children, and it is the responsibility of all to make it safe.”

Full press release

Memo : How the European Commission assesses social networking sites

Speech by Commissioner Reding (Safer Internet Day event at the European Parliament)

Implementation of the Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU

Safer Internet programme

European Commission's website on Social Networking

Safer Internet Day : full calendar of events

Promotional clip on Safer Internet Day (free download in all EU Member States languages) - More languages

http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/video_search_en.cfm?witch=1&keyword=&ref=I&videoref=053775&search=smp&LOGIN2=Recherche(Info-clip: Cybercrime)

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