Feeds

UK.gov demands 999 ads on social networking sites

Herding kids around the wild wild web

High performance access to file storage

Social networking websites could be forced to advertise the 999 emergency number under government plans to make the internet a safer place for kids to surf.

According to the Daily Telegraph, which obtained a copy of the Home Office’s draft guidance, the likes of MySpace and Facebook may soon be required to display ads for the emergency services to encourage children to call the cops if they think they’re being targeted by online predators.

The guidelines, drawn up by the Home Office’s taskforce on online child protection, recommend the sites make it much harder for kids to lie about their age when signing their life away to social networking tomfoolery.

"Most children and young people use the internet positively but sometimes behave in ways that may place them at risk," reads the document. "Some of these actions to them seem harmless but could expose them to harm... A young person can be a victim of online abuse through exposure to harmful content and cyber-bulling.

"Young people may also engage in behaviour that is risky to themselves including cyber-flirting and cyber-sex. These situations can quickly escalate to a point where they may lose control."

The guidelines also suggest that software dished out to parents via a free download could help them restrict the websites kids visit as well as cutting down the amount of time they spend on the net.

The Home Office document leaked as telecoms watchdog Ofcom put out a study which shows more than a quarter of eight to 11-year-olds claimed to have a profile page on a social networking site. That’s despite the fact that age restrictions should be in place to help limit pre-teens from accessing such sites.

It also found that 34 per cent of 16 to 24-year-olds were happy to give out sensitive personal details including their mobile number and, or, email addresses.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith will publish the 73 page document on Friday, according to the Telegraph. It will be the government’s first report on what it sees as the potential dangers to children from online bullying, sexual "grooming" by paedophiles, and internet fraud.

Under the new proposals, an eight-point safety guide on kids’ use of social networking sites will also be issued to parents.

The Home Office will also be urging social networking sites to change the default privacy settings of under-18s to private. Ofcom reckons millions of children who use social networking sites are exposing themselves to potential danger by leaving their privacy settings open.

The plea for such sites to improve their privacy settings to safeguard the nation's kids follows on from the publication of the Byron Review. Child psychologist Dr Tanya Byron revealed her findings on the effects of the web and videogames on young minds late last month.

She called for cinema-style age ratings for computer games to protect children from violent or sexual content. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Android engineer: We DIDN'T copy Apple OR follow Samsung's orders
Veep testifies for Samsung during Apple patent trial
MtGox chief Karpelès refuses to come to US for g-men's grilling
Bitcoin baron says he needs another lawyer for FinCEN chat
Did a date calculation bug just cost hard-up Co-op Bank £110m?
And just when Brit banking org needs £400m to stay afloat
One year on: diplomatic fail as Chinese APT gangs get back to work
Mandiant says past 12 months shows Beijing won't call off its hackers
German space centre endures cyber attack
Chinese code retrieved but NSA hack not ruled out
EFF: Feds plan to put 52 MILLION FACES into recognition database
System would identify faces as part of biometrics collection
Big Content goes after Kim Dotcom
Six studios sling sueballs at dead download destination
Ex-Tony Blair adviser is new top boss at UK spy-hive GCHQ
Robert Hannigan to replace Sir Iain Lobban in the autumn
Alphadex fires back at British Gas with overcharging allegation
Brit colo outfit says it paid for 347KVA, has been charged for 1940KVA
Jack the RIPA: Blighty cops ignore law, retain innocents' comms data
Prime minister: Nothing to see here, go about your business
prev story

Whitepapers

Securing web applications made simple and scalable
In this whitepaper learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
HP ArcSight ESM solution helps Finansbank
Based on their experience using HP ArcSight Enterprise Security Manager for IT security operations, Finansbank moved to HP ArcSight ESM for fraud management.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.