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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

Half of all 11-16 year-olds find communicating online easier than in person

SURFING the web is fast becoming a habit for children, with half of all 11-16-year-olds saying they find it easier to express themselves online than in person, according to figures from the European Parliament.

But new European rules designed to make the Internet a safer environment for them will fail on two key counts, according to London MEP Jean Lambert.

The Green Party MEP says the new EU-wide rules fail to tackle the issue of so-called ‘cyber-bullying’ by children themselves and that while they concentrate on protecting children from sexual imagery and on-line abuse they do nothing to protect them from advertising or predatory financial activity.

Ms Lambert said: “For nearly two years now MEPs and the European Commission have been trying to tackle the thorny issue of how to make the Internet a ‘better’ place for children.

“But these rules are about a narrow conception of Internet safety – they aren’t really about making the Internet ‘better’ in a wide sense at all.

“Not only do they fail to address cyber-bullying by children themselves but they concentrate almost exclusively on protecting children from sexual abuse on-line, failing to address any other safety issues at all.”