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EU to examine risks to kids from mobiles

The European Union said on Tuesday that it will look at the risks faced by minors when using mobiles, with a view toward recommending EU-wide legislation to protect children.

The Commission will focus on protecting children from stalkers, bullies, paedophiles and unsuitable or dangerous internet material, the Commission said.

The EU says that around 70 per cent of 12- and 13 year-olds, own a mobile (the average age in Britain for a ‘first’ mobile phone is 8-years) but there are few laws in even fewer European countries to protect children from harmful content.

Bullies in the UK, for example, have used mobiles to film “happy slapping”, where a victim is attacked, usually by a group of youths, and the resulting footage is placed on the internet for viewing.

The EC is also concerned about the economic impact of children using mobiles. The market for ringtones – targeted almost exclusively at children – generated about Eur500m (£342) in sales in Europe last year.

Operators, content providers, handset and network manufacturers, regulators, child safety experts, parents and consumer organisations have been invited to take part in the consultation.


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