European Commission Vice President for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes and the U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano have today (20/11/2012) signed a Joint Declaration in London, committing to make the Internet a safer and better place for children.

In the Declaration, Vice President Kroes and Secretary Napolitano:
– agree to implement joint campaigns on the occasion of an annual Safer Internet Day. As a first step, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security intends to participate in the EU’s Safer Internet Day for young people on February 5, 2013.
– commit to contribute to international cooperation in fighting child sexual abuse online in the immediate future. This will build on existing work by the Virtual Global Taskforce and Interpol on law enforcement collaboration to combat child sexual abuse worldwide. International cooperation is essential if we are to be effective in fighting child sexual abuse online.
– acknowledge that parents and guardians need to trust the content and services their children access and commit to continue working with industry and other stakeholders so that parents and children can make informed choices online.

This declaration complements other European Commission initiatives to keep children save and confident in the digital world. These include the EU Strategy for a safer internet and better internet content for children and teenagers presented earlier this year (IP/12/445) and a Commission-brokered coalition of top tech & media companies to make the internet a better place for our kids. (IP/11/1485)

Some history:
On 02 May 2012 the Commission adopted the Communication for a “Strategy for a Better Internet for Children”. The Commission has set out a plan to give children the digital skills and tools they need fully and safely to benefit from the digital world. It also aims to unlock the potential of the market for interactive, creative and educational content online.

With regard to safer internet, the 2011 UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for Use of ICT in Education has rewarded 2 projects:
– the ‘Internet ABC’ Project from Germany, which promotes the secure use of technologies by children and adults through advertisement-free content of more than one million pages;
– the InfollutionZERO project, which addresses the challenges of “infollution”—the harmful effects of unsafe digital “pollutants”—including cyberspace predators, bullies, abusive language, and technology addiction.
Source: UNESCO, EC