The Internet has become part of everyday life for children and young people. According to a study conducted by the media research association Medienpädagogischer Forschungsverband Südwest in 2010, young people spend an average of almost 140 minutes online every day. Some young people are still naive when it comes to using the numerous possibilities offered by the new technology.
That's why protecting children and young people and teaching them how to use new media responsibly is of pivotal importance. Deutsche Telekom takes a three-pillar approach:
- Providing attractive, age-appropriate offers for children: We offer children and young people exciting, attractive content with age-appropriate websites and content such as the fragFINN.de search engine and our Kids Portal, which we have been offering since 2004.
- Promoting media skills: We promote competent, confident use of the Internet and mobile communications. This is the only way for children and young people to learn how to recognize risks and stay within boundaries. Telekom also collaborates with different social groups and initiatives in this area.
- Offering autonomous, protective tools for users: A key element is also offering suitable protective tools. Telekom Deutschland has been offering a reliable solution since 2003 with its child protection software, which was officially recognized by the Commission for the Protection of Minors from Unsuitable Media Content (KJM) in February 2012. The software can be used to find out the age rating of websites, for example.
In this context, Deutsche Telekom also supports numerous initiatives and collaborations to protect young Internet users.
Internet users are getting younger and younger, which makes providing effective protection for children and young people one of the main challenges on Europe's digital agenda. At the end of 2011, 28 leading technology and media companies, including Telekom, joined forces in the "CEO Coalition to make the internet better place for kids" initiative for one year following an invitation by EU vice president Neelie Kroes.
DTAG is also participating in the industry's "ICT Coalition for a Safer Internet for Children and Young People." Initiative members include telecommunications companies, end-device manufacturers and online service providers. For the first time, a broad range of companies from the ICT industry along the entire Internet value-added chain teamed up for a common, long-term goal to improve protection of minors and signed the Principles for the Safer Use of Connected Devices and Online Services by Children and Young People in the EU.
Telekom has promised to implement a list of measures at every subsidiary in the EU by January 2014 as part of the two initiatives. The measures include:
- Designating a child safety officer as a coordinator at Telekom and as an external contact
- Offering a special website that provides helpful information on keeping minors safe online
- Simple, secure mechanisms for reporting harmful or inappropriate content and processing these reports effectively
- Age-appropriate data privacy settings in Telekom apps, e.g., for social networks or advertising preferences on cell phones
- Categorizing content on Telekom websites and in Telekom services into at least two age groups: "for adults only" and "for all ages"
- A more extensive offer of services to help parents control use of the Internet including offering child and youth protection software
- Systematic removal of child pornography-related content from Telekom's servers
- Measures to raise awareness among children and young people of how to use the Internet responsibly
We work throughout the Group to keep children and young people safe when using different forms of media. Our basic approach takes national laws and specific local needs into account. The Group subsidiaries individually decide where they want to focus their efforts for improving the protection of young people online.
Telekom supported fragFINN.de, a protected surf room that provides children with a protected online space without inappropriate content, in 2012 as well. Since November 2012, the fragFINN app has been offering a child-friendly browser for smartphones and tablets. We are also involved in various collaborations, including "Youth and cell phones," which promotes media skills among children and young people. We plan to continue our support for this initiative as well.Find out more
The fragFINN search engine is our contribution to the safe Internet initiative "Ein Netz für Kinder" launched by the German federal government. It has been available since 2007. In November 2009, Deutsche Telekom founded the association fragFINN e.V. in collaboration with other ICT companies in order to enable the platform for safe Internet content to offer its services over the long term.
Protecting children and young people from damaging influences presented by the media is an important aspect of product development at Deutsche Telekom. Our design principles, which are mandatory throughout the Group, have been in effect since 2009. These are based on the "Be responsible" principle and specify that criteria for protecting children and young people have to be taken into consideration even as early as in the product development phase.
The standards and labels of self-regulation institutions such as Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle der Filmwirtschaft (FSK) and Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK), the entertainment software self-regulation body, are becoming increasingly important. These give guidance to children, young people and adults. That is why Deutsche Telekom makes sure that all of its distribution channels and Internet pages comply with the age recommendations published by the self-monitoring institutions.
In 2012 we voluntarily labeled our web offers containing age-appropriate content (e.g., Videoload.de) according to age groups in compliance with legal requirements and with the standards set forth by Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle Multimedia-Diensteanbieter (FSM), the voluntary self-control of multimedia service providers (self-classification). In doing so, we are protecting young users from content that could negatively impact their development. We also make it possible to block such content with appropriate child protection software.
All fixed-line customers can download Telekom's child protection software free of charge. During the reporting period, we also started to develop a browser that is safe for children when accessing the Internet via a smartphone or tablet computer on the go.
As part of our involvement in the CEO Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids, we also address issues such as parental control over online usage and filter tools for protecting minors. Deutsche Telekom made specific commitments in the context of their involvement in early 2013.Find out more
In February 2012 Telekom's child protection software became one of the first two initiatives for the protection of minors in Germany to be recognized by the Commission for the Protection of Minors from Unsuitable Media Content (KJM). The software helps parents control their children's use of the Internet by providing features such as age-based filters for page content and time limits.
We have also been offering our own service forum on child protection software to promote online safety since 2008. The forum is hosted by the Telekom Team and offers a platform for discussion on current problems and suggestions for improvement.
Close cooperation of all parties involved is crucial to pushing forward the protection of children and young people in the media. That is why Telekom collaborates closely in this area with partners from the worlds of business, politics and society and supports numerous initiatives on protecting children and young people in the media on its markets. We have been an active participant in the federal and state administrations' multi-stakeholder dialog on developing the system for protecting children and young people in Germany since 2009 and have already conducted various projects within this context. The goal of the dialog is to establish uniform standards and policies for the protection of minors in the media as well as to initiate measures to communicate and raise people's awareness of the topic.
Deutsche Telekom has been participating in the child protection awareness campaign "sicher online gehen - Kinderschutz im Internet," since July 2012. The campaign is also being sponsored by a broad alliance comprised of the federal and state governments and the business sector. Its objective is to raise awareness of youth protection programs and to encourage people to take advantage of them.
We also participated in the following numerous initiatives and collaborations, working for a safer environment for young people:
As a responsible company, Deutsche Telekom considers it its obligation to take rigorous action against depictions of child abuse and its documentation.
Telekom has been working with criminal prosecution authorities and NGOs active in this area in Germany and in other countries for some time now to ban such content from the Internet. This topic was also heavily discussed in 2012 in the context of the "CEO Coalition to make the Internet a better place for kids." Deutsche Telekom made a commitment in early 2013 to implement measures as part of this initiative.Find out more
Deutsche Telekom has been involved in a Europe-wide fight against the depiction of child abuse since 2007 in the European Framework for Safer Mobile Use by Younger Teenagers and Children. Deutsche Telekom has also been an active member of the global Mobile Alliance against this type of content since 2008.
A Safer Internet Conference staged in September 2012 featured three presentations of Magyar Telekom's child safety strategy, policy and tools. The company's commitments for the future include a child safety webpage, appointment of a person responsible for child safety, tightening up the privacy of its social media, refining its reporting tool, developing standardized processes of reporting and implementing a notice and takedown (NTD) policy.
Children and adolescents are one of the most vulnerable groups in the virtual environment, especially as they are the ones most attracted by these new technologies. So Slovak Telekom launched a free e-book that makes parents aware of the dangers their children may encounter in Internet usage. The company is the main partner in a project involving the Ministry of Education, Science, Research and Sport and other organizations. The chapter on mobile usage was co-written by Telekom employees. The book is available as a free Kindle download.
Between May and October 2012 Slovak Telekom was involved in an Internet child safety campaign, which involved visits to 78 schools. Over 7,000 children attended these seminars on safe Internet usage conducted by an NGO known as eSlovensko. The topics vary, but usually they show the children cartoons and then discuss about the danger featured in the cartoon. The seminars are interactive and sometimes the children act out their own theater play about safety on the Internet. In addition, 339 teachers were trained in how to teach their pupils about Internet child safety tools.
30 young people attending the special Summer University of Comenius were invited by Endowment Fund Telekom with Pontis Foundation to attend two seminars at Magio Beach, one on sign language and one on safe use of the Internet. Slovak Telekom paid for the students to attend these seminars.
The Polish subsidiary PTC co-partnered the 6th International Conference on "Keeping Children and Young People Safe Online," which was held in Warsaw on September 20-21, 2012. 57 speakers and nearly 600 participants from over 20 countries attended the conference, which attracted experts from all over Europe who are dealing with issues of Internet usage by children and young people. The extensive conference program comprehensively tackled the issues relating to Internet usage by these vulnerable youngsters. Two PTC employees directly contributed to the conference by giving a talk on the operator's perspective on children in the mobile world. In this talk they particularly stressed the importance of education.