Feeds

UK.gov demands 999 ads on social networking sites

Herding kids around the wild wild web

Maximizing your infrastructure through virtualization

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According to the Daily Telegraph, which obtained a copy of the Home Office’s draft guidance, the likes of MySpace and Facebook may soon be required to display ads for the emergency services to encourage children to call the cops if they think they’re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

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
Arrr: Freetard-bothering Digital Economy Act tied up, thrown in the hold
Ministry of Fun confirms: Yes, we're busy doing nothing
Help yourself to anyone's photos FOR FREE, suggests UK.gov
Copyright law reforms will keep m'learned friends busy
Apple smacked with privacy sueball over Location Services
Class action launched on behalf of 100 million iPhone owners
US judge: YES, cops or feds so can slurp an ENTIRE Gmail account
Crooks don't have folders labelled 'drug records', opines NY beak
ONE EMAIL costs mining company $300 MEEELION
Environmental activist walks free after hoax sent share price over a cliff
UK government officially adopts Open Document Format
Microsoft insurgency fails, earns snarky remark from UK digital services head
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.