Towards a Better Internet for Children
Keeping children safe online has been the subject of intensive policy debate ever since the mid-1990s when the internet first became an important public communications medium. The European Union has been to the fore in promoting internet safety and through its Safer Internet Programme has supported multistakeholder initiatives with industry, law enforcement, education and civil society to create a safer internet environment. Now, with a new emphasis on not just a safer but also a better internet, policy makers have signalled a new phase in strategies to protect children online. Reviewing the development of internet safety policy over this period – against the background of better evidence about the reality of young people’s experiences and looking to its future are among the key themes of this book.
Contributors, all members of the now 33-country EU Kids Online network, seek to add to a growing literature on policy matters regarding internet regulation and governance as the Internet enters a new phase of maturity with near universal access and use. European in scope but international in outlook, the chapters in this collection seek to raise critical debate on just how mainstream are policies to protect young people, promote their best interests online and empower them to avail of the full range of digital opportunities? Against a background of increased international tension and debate over whether the internet should be regulated at all, contributors adopt a somewhat different position and assess the forms, contexts and evidence in favour of action – regulatory and otherwise – needed to support safer and better outcomes for young people.