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Minister Andrews Welcomes Adoption of a Stronger EU Approach to Protecting Children Online (News Item)

20/04/2009

Press Release


Mr Barry Andrews, T.D., Minister for Children and Youth Affairs, today adopted on behalf of Ireland, the Prague Ministerial Declaration on A new European approach for a Safer Internet for children.

The Minister was attending the Ministerial Conference "Safer Internet for Children: Fighting Together Against Illegal Content and Conduct Online", which was organised by the Czech EU Presidency and took place today (20 April) in Prague in the Czech Republic. The Conference focused on international police cooperation and the capacity of law enforcement authorities to combat illegal online content on the Internet.

Ministers from across the EU adopted the Declaration, which commits EU Member States to strengthen their cooperation in the area of combating illegal online content, particularly illegal child abuse images.

‘I am very pleased to adopt on behalf of Ireland the Prague Ministerial Declaration which I am confident will contribute to the development of a safer online environment for children across Europe,’ said the Minister. ‘Mobile phone operators and Internet Service Providers have a crucial role to play in protecting children. Statistics show that across Europe 90 per cent of 13 year olds have a mobile phone and increasingly mobiles can access more complex internet content. Given that a very significant proportion of parents do not know what content their children are accessing, the dangers are obvious,’ added the Minister. ‘These dangers are in a number of categories including grooming for child sexual abuse, identity theft and cyberbullying. Nevertheless, it is critical to emphasise that the internet and mobile phone connectivity have a very positive influence on the lives of young people in Ireland,’ concluded Minister Andrews.

Ends

NOTE FOR EDITORS

Among the key objectives of the Prague Declaration are to:

* Call attention to the risks arising from new communication technologies
becoming a part of the daily life of children;

* Stimulate debate on issues such as grooming, cyberbullying and other
forms of harmful conduct online;

* Highlight the EU's leading position on policy on safer Internet issues;

* Emphasise the key actions of the European institutions in the fight
against illegal online content.





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