Digital Citizenship and Child Safety

Posted in child protection, child safety, internet safety by coda on December 16, 2009

The Pew Research Center has produced two reports that focus on the behaviour and values of teenagers in the digital age. Sexting is the first subject covered:

As texting has become a centerpiece in teen social life, parents, educators and advocates have grown increasingly concerned about the role of cell phones in the sexual lives of teens and young adults. A new survey from the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project found that 4% of cell-owning teens ages 12-17 say they have sent sexually suggestive nude or nearly nude images or videos of themselves to someone else via text messaging, a practice also known as “sexting”; 15% say they have received such images of someone they know via text message.

The second looks at the way teenagers interact with mobile phone technology:

Teenagers have previously lagged behind adults in their ownership of cell phones, but several years of survey data collected by the Pew Internet & American Life Project show that those ages 12-17 are closing the gap in cell phone ownership. The Project first began surveying teenagers about their mobile phones in its 2004 Teens and Parents project when a survey showed that 45% of teens had a cell phone. Since that time, mobile phone use has climbed steadily among teens ages 12 to 17 – to 63% in fall of 2006 to 71% in early 2008.

In comparison, 77% of all adults (and 88% of parents) had a cell phone or other mobile device at a similar point in 2008. Cell phone ownership among adults has since risen to 85%, based on the results of our most recent tracking survey of adults conducted in April 2009. The Project is currently conducting a survey of teens and their parents and will be releasing the new figures in early 2010.

We went back to our databanks in light of the intriguing findings about adult mobile phone use in two of our recent reports, and to help lay the ground work for our current project on youth and mobile phones. This memo is the result of our data mining.

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Commission calls on mobile operators to continue to improve child safety policies

Posted in child protection, internet safety, mobile technology by coda on May 1, 2009
  • tags: digital_safety

    • “The new report of the mobile phone industry association shows that mobile operators have started to take seriously their responsibilities to keep children safe when using phones,” said EU Telecoms Commissioner Viviane Reding. “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.”

Good governance issues: 50% of 10 year-old, 87% of 13 year-old and 95% of 16 year-old children in the EU have a mobile phone, but half of European parents worry mobile phone use might expose their children to sexually and violently explicit images (51%) or bullying by other children (49%), according to a survey. The European Commission today called on mobile operators 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 mobile operators in 2007. A report just published by the GSM Association, the trade body of the mobile phone industry, showed that national self-regulatory codes based on the framework agreement brokered by the European Commission now exist in 22 Member States, 90% of them in line with the 2007 agreement, and 80% of operators have put in place measures to control child access to adult content.
The report “Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children” can be found here.