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Concerns over children using mobile phones

THE EUROPEAN Commission has launched a study to examine the potential risks to children who use mobile phones. Through the study, which will continue until October 16 of this year, the aim is to obtain information from child protection organisations, as well as parent associations, consumer protection groups, mobile phone network operators, mobile phone manufacturers and suppliers, with regard to the potential dangers children who use mobile phones may face.  

The risks, which are being highlighted for discussion, include the easy access to offensive and illegal material, harassment through text messages and abusive or explicit pictures, as well as the possibility of children running up unexpectedly large bills. According to the Commission, technical solutions should be introduced to protect children from these dangers.

“In my view, the protection of minors with regard to the use of mobile phones is the responsibility of all parties: the companies in the sector, child protection organisations and public entities. It is better if the situation is regulated by these groups, rather than making it necessary for the government to intervene,” said Viviane Reding, the EU commissioner responsible for information and media in society.

According to the data collected from a previous survey conducted by Eurobarometer in May, 70 per cent of European adolescents, aged 12 and 13, and 23 per cent of children, aged eight and nine, possess a mobile phone.