Children in the Web 2.0 world - the European approach

18 November 2009 - A Workshop on Security in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt


Children and young people tend to be in the vanguard of new media adoption and they are among the biggest users' group of Web 2.0 services such as social networking sites, blogs and instant messaging. These tools provide them with new ways to communicate with friends, express themselves and be creative online, but they may face a range of risky or negative experiences for which they are unprepared. In order to use online technologies in a responsible way and to handle these risks children and their parents need to be informed and educated. 

The European Commission has been promoting online safety for children through the Safer Internet programme since 1999. Within the programme we have worked towards an inclusive approach bringing together stakeholders from industry to researchers, teachers, parents, NGOs active in child welfare and law enforcement and encouraged them to cooperate and exchange ideas, best practice and experience in order to empower and protect young people when using online and mobile technologies. 

The aim of the session is to discuss children's and young people's use of new media and to demonstrate some best practices for empowering them while they are online. What are the lessons learnt? What have been successful practices and what have not worked so well? What would work in a non-European context?

a) Provide the names and affiliations of the panellists you are planning to invite. Describe the main actors in the field and whether you have you approached them about their willingness to participate in the proposed workshop.

EU KIDS ONLINE, a network coordinated by the London School of Economics - have agreed to designate a representative 
Janice Richardson, European Schoolnet, coordinator of the INSAFE network 
INSAFE network - have also agreed to designate 2 members for presenting best practice at the national level 
eNACSO, coordinated by Save the Children, Denmark - have agreed to designate a representative 
Industry representative - the Social Networking Services who have signed the social networking principles for the EU will designate a representative

b) Describe how you will take steps to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle, including geographical diversity.

In order to adhere to the multi-stakeholder principle the panellists represent different stakeholder groups (researchers, NGOs active in child welfare and industry). 
EU KIDS ONLINE is a network of social science researchers from 21 European countries who examine research into how people, especially children and young people, use new media.
INSAFE is a European-wide network of 27 national awareness-raising centres that promote safe and responsible use of online technology, particularly amongst children and young people.
eNACSO is a network comprising child protection organizations from 15 different countries. 
Industry will be represented by one of the 20 signatories of the EU social networking principles, who include all main social networking sites active in Europe, many of them also active globally such as Facebook and MySpace.

c) Does the proposed workshop provide different perspectives on the issues under discussion? 

The mix of speakers will ensure that different perspectives on the issues discussed will be provided. The session will include an overview of the research on how young people use Web 2.0 services and what the risks are, followed by presentations of best practice at the European and national levels by both NGOs and industry and also cover the NGO perspective on how to protect children's rights to privacy when using these services. 

List of speakers are as follows:

1) Rachel O'Connell, Bebo, VP of People Networks and Chief Safety Officer, [] 
2) Katia Segers, the Media Studies department of the Vrije Universiteit, professor, [] 
3) Janice Richardson, European Schoolnet, coordinator of the Insafe network,, [] 
4) Dieter Carstensen, Save the Children Denmark, Chairman of the European NGO Alliance on Child Safety Online (eNACSO),, []

The workshop will further present two best practice examples of promoting awareness amongst children and young people of how to use Web 2.0 services in a responsible way. The speakers will be nominated by the Insafe network before 15 September.