Some while ago the European Commission published its vision and strategy for a “Better Internet for Children” aimed at not only protecting children on the internet but also encouraging more use of the internet for positive good.
The strategy is built around four pillars that mutually reinforce each other and they are:
- Stimulating quality content online for young people;
- Stepping up awareness and empowerment;
- Creating a safe environment for children online;
- Fighting against child sexual abuse and sexual exploitation.
The strategy recognises that whilst the internet was not necessarily created with children in mind, 75% of 6-17 year olds were reported by their parents to be using the internet and many teenagers reported that they first went online when they were 11.
By comparison 9 and 10 year olds report that on average they begin to use the internet at the age of 7 and our experience through our initiative “The i in online” (which we set up in 2008) is that year on year the average age of internet users drops time and time again, with children as young as 5 accessing the internet (with or without parent consent).