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ITU calls for cooperation in keeping kids safe online

Unhysterical guidelines for kids, parents and industry

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The International Telecommunications Union has issued draft guidelines to help keep kids safe online.

We're not sure how many children will wade through the 66 page pdf offering advice for kids online, but its basic message is sensible. Using the acronym 'SMART' kids are advised to:

Set your limits - use privacy settings, be careful what information you share, be critical of what you see online and do not accept bullying as part of normal behaviour online.

Meeting online friends in real life - think twice before you do it and take someone with you.

Accepting invitations - most online contacts are probably someone you already knew in real life - be wary of accepting invitations to chat from other people.

React - ignore bad behaviour and leave conversations or websites which are inappropriate, block anyone who is unpleasant to you and tell an adult if a stranger tries to talk to you about sex.

Tell someone - if you're worried about something that has happened online, tell an adult you trust. You can also report content to internet watchdogs or the police.

Kids are also advised to look after the health of their computer to use anti-virus software and not open unknown files.

The technology industry is urged to work together to keep kids safe. The ITU wants common rules and standards to be developed by firms working in similar areas. It calls for clear sign-posting of material not suitable for everyone. The ITU uses BBC iPlayer as an example - it has the option to PIN protect content which carries a 'G' (Guidance) label.

Members of the public have until 30 June to respond to the draft guidelines for kids, parents, industry and policy makers. The guidelines will then be presented at the ITU meeting in Geneva in October.

The ITU child protection strategy page is here. ®

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