EC calls for increased child safety


The European Commission has called for greater child safety policies regarding mobile phone use.

Commission research has found that 50 per cent of 10-year-olds, 87 per cent of 13 year-olds and 95 per cent of 16 year-old children in the EU have a mobile phone. However half of European parents worry mobile phone use might expose their children to sexually and violently explicit images or bullying by other children, according to a survey.

The Commission this week called on mobile networks to do more to keep children safe while using mobile phones by putting in place all the measures in the voluntary code of conduct, signed by 26 networks in 2007.

A report recently published by the GSM Association showed that national self-regulatory codes based on the framework agreement brokered by the European Commission now exist in 22 Member States; 90 per cent of them in line with the 2007 agreement, and 80 per cent of networks have put in place measures to control child access to adult content.

EU telecoms commissioner Viviane Reding said: “The new GSMA report shows that mobile operators have started to take seriously their responsibilities to keep children safe when using phones. However, I expect that national codes will be signed very soon now in the four countries where they do not exist yet – this is the case in Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, and Luxembourg – and I also expect the Belgian code to be significantly revised.

“Protection of minors is not a luxury, but indispensable if new communication technologies want to be accepted in our European societies. Mobile operators still need to be more ambitious to make measures for the purpose of protecting minors more effective in all European countries, and also to make content classification more transparent. The 12 operators who still provide adult content without any access control must fix this situation. I reserve the right to come back to this situation in September this year to see whether further action needs to be taken.”