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Establishing a multiannual Community programme on protecting children using the Internet and other communication technologies (Text with EEA relevance)
ANNEX I

ANNEX I — ACTIONS

    Introduction

    The objective of the Programme is to promote safer use of the Internet and other communication technologies (online technologies), to educate users, particularly children, parents, carers, teachers and educators in this regard and to fight against illegal content and harmful conduct online.

    To achieve this objective, the Programme will focus on practical help for the end-user, particularly children, parents, carers, teachers and educators, by encouraging multi-stakeholder partnerships.

    The Programme has the overall aim to promote safer use of online technologies, especially by children, promote the development of a safe online environment, reduce the amount of illegal content disseminated online, tackle potentially harmful conduct online (including the psychological manipulation of children with a view to sexual abuse and grooming, which is the process by which an adult befriends a child with the intention of committing sexual abuse, electronic harassment and electronic files showing physical and/or psychological aggression) and ensure public awareness of online risks and precautions, as well as to develop pedagogical tools on the basis of sound practices.

    In order to ensure a coherent approach to risks, where content and services may be accessed and used both online and offline, such as in the case of video games, the Programme may address both types of access and use.

    The Programme will be implemented through four general action lines:

      (1)Ensuring public awareness

      The activities will aim to increase public awareness, in particular among children, parents, carers, teachers and educators, about opportunities and risks related to the use of online technologies, and means of staying safe online. They will also address the opportunities and risks of services using new distribution platforms, such as audiovisual services using mobile phone networks. Where appropriate, information packs will be made available in multilingual versions. The main planned actions are:

      1. Raising public awareness and disseminating information on safer use of online technologies.

        Activities will promote public awareness in a coordinated way across the European Union, by conveying a positive message about the opportunities for a wider and more intensive use of information and communication technology, while providing adequate information about risks and ways to deal with them. Actions will be encouraged so as to enable children to make responsible use of on-line technologies, in particular through media literacy or media education programmes. Activities will encourage cost-effective means of distributing awareness information to a large number of users, for instance, through cooperation with mass media, through the online distribution of user-generated content and through the educational system. Methods of distribution and presentation of messages will be adapted to the various target groups (different age groups of children and their parents, carers, teachers and educators).

      2. Providing contact points where parents and children can receive answers to questions about how to stay safe online, including advice on how to deal with both grooming and cyber-bullying.

        Activities will be aimed at empowering users to make informed and responsible choices by providing them with advice on relevant information and precautions to be taken to remain safe online.

      3. Encouraging the enhancement of efficient and cost-effective awareness-raising methods and tools.

        Actions will be aimed at improving relevant awareness-raising methods and tools so that they are more efficient and cost-effective over the long-term.

      4. Ensuring the exchange of best practices and cross-border cooperation at EU level.

        Actions will be taken to ensure effective EU cross-border cooperation and effective exchange of best practices, tools, methods, experience and information.

      5. Ensuring exchange of best practices and cooperation at international level.

        Actions will aim to promote cooperation and exchange of best practices, tools, methods, experience and information at international level in order to encourage common approaches and methods of work and improve and enhance the effectiveness, cost-efficiency and the range of global initiatives.

      (2)Fighting against illegal content and harmful conduct online

      The activities will aim to reduce the amount of illegal content circulated online and deal adequately with harmful conduct online, with particular focus on online distribution of child sexual abuse material, grooming and cyber-bullying. The main planned actions are:

      1. Providing the public with, and promoting the existence of, contact points and hotlines for reporting online illegal content and harmful conduct.

        Activities will ensure that these contact points are effective and visible to the public, that they liaise closely with other actors at national level (in particular with police units specialised in cyber crime), and that they cooperate at EU level to deal with cross-border issues and to exchange best practices. These contact points will also provide the public with the necessary information on how to report illegal content and assess the content of on-line information services which could harm the physical, mental or moral integrity of children.

      2. Tackling harmful conduct online, in particular grooming and cyber-bullying. Activities will aim to tackle online grooming and cyber-bullying.

        Actions will deal with technical, psychological and sociological issues relating to these issues and will promote cooperation and coordination between stakeholders.

      3. Stimulating the application of technical solutions for dealing adequately with illegal content and harmful conduct online and informing end-users as to how this technology might be applied.

        Activities will encourage the design, development or adaptation and/or promotion of effective technological tools to deal adequately with illegal content and to fight against harmful conduct online, in particular those tools made available free of charge for easy general use by stakeholders, and will also encourage the promotion by service operators of safe, responsible use of connections in order to protect children against illegal and harmful activities. Stakeholders will be informed of the availability of this technology and its proper use. Consideration could be given, inter alia,to the following measures:

        1. adopting a quality label for service providers, so that users can easily check whether or not a given provider subscribes to a code of conduct;
        2. the use by end-users of filters which would prevent information which could harm children's physical, mental or moral integrity from passing through online technologies;
        3. supporting and promoting measures to encourage positive content for children;
        4. aiming to explore the effectiveness of tools developed in cooperation with the Internet industry that enable law enforcement agencies to track down online criminals.
      4. Promoting cooperation and exchange of information, experience and best practices between stakeholders at national and EU level.

        Activities will aim to improve coordination between, and encourage the participation and engagement of, stakeholders involved in countering the distribution of illegal content and harmful conduct online. In particular, activities will encourage the international sharing of expertise and pooling of ideas between governments, law enforcement agencies, hotlines, banking/financial/credit card institutions, child abuse counselling centres, child welfare organisations and the Internet industry.

      5. Enhancing cooperation, exchange of information and experience in fighting online illegal content and harmful conduct at international level.

        Activities will aim to improve cooperation with third countries, harmonise approaches in dealing with illegal content and harmful conduct online at international level and encourage the development of coordinating links between the Member States' databases relating to child abuse, and also common approaches and methods of work. In particular, activities will be aimed at establishing close cooperation between national authorities, police and contact points. Actions will be taken to build a common EU database collecting information on child abuse and to ensure its connection with Europol.

      6. Engaging domain name registries where they are not yet engaged and strengthening existing cooperation.

        Taking account of national legislation, activities will aim to complement the existing actions by improving cooperation with domain name registries in Member States, and encouraging positive relationships with registries outside the EU to enable earlier detection of potentially illegal content and minimise the longevity of websites known to offer child sexual abuse content.

      (3)Promoting a safer online environment

      The activities will aim to bring together stakeholders so as to promote a safer online environment and protect children from harmful content. The main planned actions are:

      1. Enhancing cooperation, exchange of information, experience and best practices between stakeholders.

        Activities will aim to improve cooperation, harmonise approaches in creating a safer online environment for children and enable the exchange of best practices and working methods. Actions will aim to provide stakeholders with an open platform to discuss issues linked to promoting a safer online environment and ways of protecting children from potentially harmful content across different platforms.

      2. Encouraging stakeholders to develop and implement adequate systems of self- and co-regulation. Actions will encourage the creation and implementation of self- and co-regulatory initiatives and encourage stakeholders to take account of child safety when developing new technologies and services.
      3. Encouraging and assisting providers to develop labelling.

        Actions will aim at encouraging and assisting Internet service providers to develop, as a tool of self regulation, child safe labelling for web pages. These actions may include, inter alia, exploring the possibility of setting up a system of common descriptive symbols or warning messages indicating the age category and/or those aspects of the content which have led to a certain age recommendation, which would help users to be more aware of potentially harmful online content.

      4. Stimulating the involvement of children in creating a safer online environment.

        Actions will aim to involve children, ensuring equal participation of girls and boys, with the aim of better understanding their views and experiences concerning the use of online technologies and, with the support of specialists, of promoting a safer online environment for children. This involvement shall be regularly exercised within the framework of activities such as the European Forum on the Rights of the Child, the Safer Internet Forum and others.

      5. Increasing information about adequate tools for dealing with harmful content online.

        Activities will aim to increase information, particularly for parents, carers, teachers and educators, about the performance and effectiveness of tools, such as filtering systems, for dealing with potentially harmful content online and to equip all users regularly with simple educational information, instruments and applications adequately supporting them in dealing with harmful content across different platforms.

      6. Ensuring compatibility between the approach taken in the European Union and internationally.

        Activities will promote cooperation and exchange of information, experience and best practices between stakeholders at EU level and internationally.

      (4)Establishing a knowledge base

      The activities will aim to establish a knowledge base for dealing adequately with existing and emerging uses of the online environment and relevant risks and consequences, with a view to designing adequate actions aimed at ensuring online safety for all users. The contents of this knowledge base will be shared with stakeholders and disseminated across Member States. The main planned actions are:

      1. Encouraging a coordinated approach to investigations in relevant fields.

        Actions will aim to bring together scientists and experts engaged in the field of child safety online at EU level, stimulate international cooperation and coordination, and establish updated overviews of existing and emerging research.

      2. Providing updated information on children's use of online technologies.

        Actions will be taken to generate updated information concerning children's use of online technologies and the way they and their parents, carers, teachers and educators deal with both opportunities and risks. The actions will comprise quantitative and qualitative aspects. Actions will also aim to increase the knowledge of children's own strategies for dealing with risks in the online environment, and assess their effectiveness.

      3. Analysing statistics and trends from different Member States.

        Actions will be taken to analyse statistics and trends from different Member States with the aim of allowing law enforcement agencies and relevant authorities from Member States to reduce the duplication of existing efforts and maximise the use of current and future resources.

      4. Promoting investigation of the online victimisation of children.

        Actions, incorporating a gender-sensitive approach, will aim to investigate technical, psychological and sociological issues related to the victimisation of children in the online environment, including cyber-bullying, grooming, issues relating to online child sexual abuse material and emerging forms of conduct that put children at risk of harm.

      5. Promoting investigation of efficient ways to improve the safe use of online technologies.

        Actions may include investigations and trials of awareness-raising methods and tools, successful co- and self-regulatory schemes, the effectiveness of different technical and non-technical solutions, as well as other relevant issues.

      6. Increasing knowledge of the effects of the use of current and emerging technologies on children.

        Actions, incorporating a gender-sensitive approach, will aim to better understand the psychological, behavioural and sociological effects of online technologies on children, ranging from the effect of exposure to harmful content and conduct, to grooming and cyber-bullying across different platforms, from computers and mobile phones to game consoles and other emerging technologies.