The European Commission is to spend £42m on a programme to enhance children's safety online.
It said the programme will fight illegal content and harmful behaviour such as bullying and grooming that use Web 2.0 tools, such as social networking.
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The £42m programme, which builds further on the successful Safer Internet programme started in 2005, will run from 2009 to 2013.
The proposed new programme will:
- Reduce illegal content and tackle harmful conduct online. It will provide the public with national contact points to report illegal online content and harmful conduct, focusing in particular on sexual child abuse material and grooming.
- Promote a safer online environment. It will foster self-regulation and encourage children and young people to create a safer online environment, in particular through youth panels.
- Raise public awareness among children, their parents and teachers. It will encourage national awareness centres to swap best practices and support contact points where parents and children can receive advice on how to stay safe online.
- Develop an online knowledge base fed by European child safety researchers. This will monitor the use of new technologies by children, the effects these have on them, and related risks. It will use this to improve the effectiveness of ongoing actions within the programme.
The initiative is one of a number of EC projects aimed at improving child safety in a connected, multimedia world.