Protecting children on-line a priority, says MEP

East Midlands Conservative MEP Emma McClarkin has spoken in the Culture, Youth, Education, Media and Sport Committee of the European Parliament about the protection of children online.

Miss McClarkin, who is the Conservative spokesperson for Culture and Education in the European Parliament, spoke about the risks to children from an increasingly digital world.

Minors are increasingly using Internet and media and with the modern mobile devices, it is also possible to access on a more and more frequent basis. Figures show 41 per cent of 12-15 year-olds have a Smartphone and around half of them use it for social networking on a weekly basis, meaning that online services have become a part of children’s everyday lives.

During the speech, Emma said: “We need to ensure a safe media environment for children. Social networking sites have gained a huge importance among children and young adults in recent years, and whilst many of these interactions are positive, there are also problematic situations including grooming and cyber bullying.

“Parents, teachers and others working with children have a highly important role in raising awareness about problems, but I believe it is important that we raise awareness of tools available to us in our Member States across the EU and exchange best practice in increasing online child protection.

“We want children to receive the benefits from the opportunities in the digital world in a safe environment.”