Who we are
A brief introduction
The ICT Coalition for Children Online aims to help younger internet users across Europe to make the most of the online world and deal with any potential challenges and risks.
With the internet now one of the most important sources of information, education and entertainment for many people, it is vital that industry, government, schools and other relevant organisations work together to help children and young people use the internet in a safe and responsible way.
What we do
Our reports and activities
- A Report on the first implementation of the ICT Principle, available here.
- An independent assessment of the emerging trends and evolutions in the areas covered by the services and products of members of the ICT Coalition, available here.
Members of the ICT Coalition for Children Online pledge to encourage the safe and responsible use of online services and internet devices among children and young people and to empower parents and carers to engage with and help protect their children in the digital world. In 2012, members of the ICT Coalition signed up to a set of guiding principles to ensure that the safety of younger internet users is integral to the products and services they develop.
The Principles for the Safer Use of Connected Devices and Online Services by Children and Young People in the EU that have been developed by the ICT Coalition encourage best practice in the key areas of content, parental controls, dealing with abuse/misuse, child sexual abuse content or illegal content, privacy and control, and education and awareness.
As the first industry-led Europe-wide principles in the online safety arena, they provide a long term roadmap for the member companies. The ICT Coalition for Children Online fully supports related initiatives from European Commission.
Find out more about the Principles on this site.
Some online content might not be appropriate for children and young people. Signatories should therefore:
- Indicate clearly where a service they offer may include content considered not to be appropriate for children and display prominently options which are available to control access to the content. This could include, where appropriate for the service, tools to manage access to certain content, advice to users or a recognised system of content labelling.
- Display prominently and in an easily accessible location the Acceptable Use Policy, which should be written in easily-understandable language.
- State clearly any relevant terms of service or community guidelines (i.e. how users are expected to behave and what is not acceptable) with which user generated content must comply.
- Ensure that reporting options are in the relevant areas of the service.
- Provide notice about the consequences for users if they post content which violates terms of service or community guidelines.
- Continue work to provide innovative solutions able to support child safety protection tools and solutions.
Signatories should, as relevant for their products or services, assist parents to limit their children’s exposure to potentially inappropriate content and contact.
It is recognised that parental controls have limitations and cannot replace parents’ engagement in their children’s online use. Measures that are available or appropriate to each service/product will vary, but may include:
- Manufacturers seeking to optimise hardware design to provide products which simply and clearly help parents to set appropriate levels of control on devices.
- Network providers seeking to provide necessary tools and settings across their services to enable parents to set appropriate levels of control.
- Service and content providers making available the necessary tools and settings across their services to enable parents to set appropriate levels of control.
Dealing with abuse/Misuse
Dealing with abuse/misuse refers to content or conduct which may be illegal, harmful, offensive or inappropriate e.g. under a company’s Acceptable Use Policy. In this respect, Signatories should, for the services they offer:
- Provide a clear and simple process whereby users can report content or behaviour which breaches the service’s terms and conditions.
- Implement appropriate procedures for reviewing user reports about images, videos, text and other content or behaviour.
- Provide clear information to users on all available report and review procedures.
- Place and review regularly links to these reporting options in appropriate areas of the service (e.g. where users view user-generated content or interact with other users) and provide guidance on what to report.
- Place links to relevant child welfare organisations or specialist providers of advice (e.g. about anorexia or bullying) and other confidential helplines/support services in appropriate areas.
- Ensure that moderators who review user reports are properly trained to determine or escalate content or behaviour presented to them.
Child abuse or illegal contact
In the cases of child sexual abuse content (e.g. child sexual abuse images distributed on the internet) or illegal contact (e.g. online grooming), Signatories shall:
- Co-operate with law enforcement authorities, as provided for in local law, regarding child sexual abuse content or unlawful contact.
- Facilitate the notification of suspected child sexual abuse content to the appropriate law enforcement channels, in accordance with existing laws and data protection rules.
- Ensure the prompt removal of illegal child sexual abuse content (once it has been confirmed as illegal by the relevant public authority) in liaison with national law enforcement.
- Provide relevant additional information and/or links to users so they can make a report or obtain information about appropriate agencies or organisations that users can contact about making a report or obtaining expert advice, at national and EU level (e.g. law enforcement agencies, national INHOPE hotlines and emergency services).
Privacy and control
Signatories will continue to comply with existing data protection and advertising rules and privacy rights as set out in the relevant legal dispositions. Furthermore, as appropriate, Signatories will:
- Manage privacy settings appropriate for children and young people in ways that ensure they are as safe as is reasonably possible.
- Offer a range of privacy setting options that encourage parents, children and young people to make informed decisions about their use of the service and the information they post and share with others online. These options should be easy to understand, prominently placed, user friendly and accessible; either on the device itself or in the associated app.
- Take steps, where appropriate and in accordance with legal obligations, to raise user awareness of different privacy controls enabled by services or devices and enable users to use these as appropriate.
- Make reasonable efforts to raise awareness among all parties, service, content, technology and application providers, including public bodies, of industry good practice in relation to the protection of children and young people online.
Education and awareness
Signatories will provide appropriate information and engage in activities to raise awareness of the safer use of connected devices and online services. The purpose of these activities will be to:
- Educate children and young people and give them up to date information to manage their access and settings in relation to content, services and applications, adding support where possible to existing initiatives and partnerships.
- Provide advice about features of the service or functionality that are available to allow parents to improve the protection of children, such as tools to prevent access to certain types of content or service.
- Provide links to other sources of relevant, independent and authoritative advice for parents and carers, teachers, and for children.
- Provide access to information that will help educate parents, carers, teachers and children about media literacy and ethical digital citizenship, and help them think critically about the content consumed and created on the internet.
- Encourage parents and teachers to use this information and talk to their children/pupils about the issues arising from the use of online services, including such topics as bullying, grooming and, where relevant, cost management.