17 leading web firms have signed for the first time a European agreement to improve the safety of under 18s who use social networking sites. These include Arto, Bebo, Dailymotion, Facebook, Giovani.it, Google/YouTube, Hyves, Microsoft Europe, Myspace, Nasza-klaza.pl, Netlog, One.lt, Skyrock, StudiVZ, Sulake/Habbo Hotel, Yahoo!Europe, and Zap.lu. Social networking sites are an emerging social and economic phenomenon, attracting 41.7 million regular users in Europe and changing the way we interact with each other on the Web.

Picture of a computer mouse holding a globe with text Safer Internet Day 2009 10 February

The use of social networks has grown over the past year by 35% in Europe and is expected to more than double to 107.4 million users by 2012. To make sure that social networks continue to grow, young users need to feel safe when expanding their networks or sharing any personal information. The agreement signed today in Luxembourg at the Safer Internet Day organised by the European Commission will empower teenagers to deal with potential risks they may face online, like cyberbullying or revealing personal information.

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