“The effective protection of children online depends on continued and enhanced cooperation at EU-level, as the web cuts across national or legal boundaries”, said Labour MEP for Munster Phil Prendergast MEP, commenting on the alarming number and seriousness of instances of cyber-bullying amongst youths.
Speaking from Strasbourg, Ms. Prendergast said: “We have reports of up to 12% of European children between 9 and 12 years old having been affected by inappropriate content online. Nearly half of these instances relate to bullying, while a quarter of those reports relates to sexual content and approaches.
“The European Cyber-Crime Centre within Europol will be operational from January 1st 2013. This is a timely development and we must make sure that its child protection unit has enough resources and establishes close cooperation with Member States’ competent enforcement authorities.
“The Commission proposal for a Data Protection Regulation, which is currently in the hands of the European Parliament, has stricter provisions on parental consent and the ban on the preservation of personal data of minors safeguards their right to be forgotten online.
“We must ensure that such provisions are carefully crafted and survive the current legislative procedure. Hotline.ie is the Irish contact point, part funded by this programme. I would encourage concerned parents, teachers, social workers or any other interested parties to consult this excellent document on cyberbullying, which can be accessed on http://www.hotline.ie/documents/Cyberbullying.pdf”, she said.