10 February 2010

EU - European Commission calls on social networking companies to improve child safety policies

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. See Think before you post! How to make social networking sites safer for children and teenagers? speech by Viviane Reding, Member of the European Commission responsible for Information Society and Media, Safer Internet Day Strasbourg, 9 February 2010. See also European Commission assesses social networking sites' approach to safety of under 18s and video clip.