Only two social networking sites (Bebo and MySpace) tested on behalf of the European Commission have default settings to make minors’ profiles accessible only to their approved list of contacts and only 4 sites ensure minors can be contacted by default by friends only (Bebo, MySpace, Netlog and SchuelerVZ). However, a majority of 14 social networking sites tested do give minors age-appropriate safety information, respond to requests for help and prevent minors’ profiles from being searched via external search engines. The number of minors using social networking sites in the EU is growing – currently 77% of 13-16 year olds and 38% of 9-12 year olds who use the Internet.
The results feature in a report just published by the Commission on implementation of the “Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU”, a self-regulatory agreement brokered by the Commission in 2009 to keep children safe online (see IP/09/232). As part of the objective set by the Digital Agenda for Europe (see IP/10/581, MEMO/10/199 and MEMO/10/200) to enhance trust in the Internet, the Commission has launched a review of the current self-regulatory agreements for the protection of minors online.
Source: European Commission