Mobile industry moves to protect kids

Fifteen leading European mobile operators and content providers will meet with senior EC figures in Brussels on Tuesday, signalling the industry’s move towards self regulation of mobile content.

In a meeting presided over by Viviane Reding, the Commissioner of Information Society and Media, the operators and content providers will sign the “European Framework on Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children”.

Tuesday February 6 also marks Safe Internet Day 2007 with this year’s event focusing specifically on mobile content.

The framework to be signed today has been developed by European mobile providers, content providers and child protection agencies, to ensure the safer use of mobiles by younger teenagers and children.

The industry is working towards implementation of this common European framework at a national level in EU Member States in time to meet a review in February 2008.

Signing the European Framework on behalf of the Mobile Entertainment Forum (MEF), Gerard Grech, MEF Europe interim chair and strategy and business development director for content at Orange said: “As a global trade association, our members’ services collectively touch almost every person in the EU. We have a responsibility to work closely with regulators, consumer protection agencies and consumers to promote the safety of younger teenagers and children using mobile services.”

O2 and parent company Telefonica also signed the framework. Peter Erskine, chief executive and chairman of Telefonica O2 Europe, said: “The youth market in Europe now accounts for more than 100 million mobile phones as parents want to be able to keep in touch with their children.

“In tandem, adult content is becoming more widespread and accessible on internet-enabled phones; and cross-border crime, including grooming, is more prevalent. Today, we are stepping up our programme of advice and guidance for children, parents and guardians addressing these hazards in order to help stamp out access to inappropriate content, bullying and worst of all being contacted by paedophiles,” he said.

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