Adoption of the Prague Declaration on A new European approach for Safer Internet for Children
The Czech Ministry of Interior in cooperation with the European Commission, organised a ministerial conference Safer Internet for Children – fighting together against illegal content and conduct on-line, held in Prague on April 20, 2009. The Irish Government was represented by the Mr Barry Andrews, T.D., Minister for Children Young People.
The conference was dedicated to the process of improving cooperation of all stakeholders in the field of promoting safer internet and mobile communications, especially for children. To conclude with, participants adopted the Prague Declaration (pdf, 99 kB).
“International protection of children is one of the key Ministry of Interior priorities and we have paid increased attention to all related activities. One of our key ideas is the Prague declaration, which we drafted and presented to the conference participants. The Prague Declaration, which we adopted today, wishes to enhance cooperation of all stakeholders across Europe and establish conditions for safer use of the Internet by children”, said the Czech Minister of Interior Ivan Langer.
One of the highlights of the conference was the presentation of the Safer Internet programme for 2009 – 2013, the budget of which is €55 million. This significant sum of money is, as explained by Richard Swetenham, a representative of the European Commission, dedicated to both awareness rising and activities to suppress illegal content and harmful conduct on-line, including improved policing.
The conference participants had an opportunity to attend several interesting workshops led or attended by remarkable speakers.
- Cyberbullying - Professor Georges Steffgen, University of Luxembourg, presented outcomes of a research targeting detection of cyberbullying and possible reactions to this phenomenon. The European Commission presented a video, which draws the public attention to the issue of cyberbullying via social networks.
- Self-regulation by mobile telephony providers – speakers presented outcomes of an agreement concluded between leading European providers and the European Commission on joint efforts in the field of protection of children using mobile telephones. One of the most significant provisions of the agreement is the parent control over the adult only content and the implementation of awareness rising campaigns for both children and their parents.
- Social networks – the European Commission presented data revealing that, in Europe only, social networks already have 41,7 million users. Only last year, their numbers rose by 35 per cent. It is estimated that in 2012, social networks will have over one hundred million users.
In the afternoon, participants concentrated primarily on police cooperation
in this field. Pierre Reuland, a representative of INTERPOL, presented ICAID (the INTERPOL Child Abuse Image Database), which has, since 2001, helped protect over 750 children
from 35 countries from sexual exploitation. Paul Durrant, a representative of the European Association of Internet Service Providers (EuroISPA), spoke on the role of telecommunication providers in content filtering. The Czech Minister of Interior, Ivan Langer, said : “To detect perpetrators, we have to put together individual elements of the complex mosaic. We are like archaeologists looking for pieces of an ancient vase. To draw the complete picture, we have to secure cooperation of all stakeholders and, at the same time, make the best use of all elements of modern technology, which have the capacity to pull all pieces together“.
Copies of the Prague Declaration and of several of the Presentations given at the Ministerial Conference are available on the website of the Czech Ministry of the Interior: