Children and Internet Risks

Currently, the social networks and Internet are more than a tool; they have created a revolution in social connectivity. The children nowadays are grown immersed in this Information Society; therefore they embrace it naturally, active participation and taking the best advantage of their possibilities for communicating and socializing. While on-line computer exploration opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life, they also can be exposed to dangers as they hit the road exploring the information highway.

There are a lot of risks that the children face on the Internet daily. Examples are: 

  • Cyber-Bullying: bullying between young people through Internet.
  • Grooming: actions made by an adult in order to win minor trust, create an emotional connection, in order to reduce the inhibition of the minor, and make bad use of this relation.
  • Sexting: sending embarrassing and private pictures and content to other people without his/her consent.
  • Toxic contents: sites promoting anorexia (Pro-Ana) and bulimia (Pro-Mia), bets and games, fraud sites, gender violence, terrorism, sects or others.
  • Other:  identity theft, any kind of extortion related to the possession of pictures…

Children may spend a lot of time on social networking or virtual world sites. A survey of 25,000 young people in 25 European countries, published by the EUKidsOnline network, shows that 77% of 13-16 year olds and 38% of 9-12 year olds in the EU have a profile on a social networking site. The report published, also shows that some of the social networking sites that are popular among youngsters in Europe are not signatories to the Safer Social Networking Principles. The figures highlight the importance of the European Commission's upcoming review of the implementation of the Safer Social Networking Principles for the EU.

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