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New international guidelines for social networking

14 April, 2008
By Allison Orr

This week, new international guidelines for safer use of social networking services was launched in the UK Parliament’s House of Lords.  The guidelines were developed by a taskforce of representatives from government, NGOs, industry, charity and law enforcement agencies. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has been an important contributor to the guidelines’ development.

ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman, points out that the Internet doesn’t recognize geographic borders, so we need to start to generate globally-effective solutions to online safety issues.

"I continue to be of the view that international co-operation will be increasingly the way to ensure children have a positive and safe experience of the internet and applications that utilise it – which is why the Australian Communications and Media Authority allocates a very meaningful portion of its resources to supporting practical international collaborations", said Mr Chapman.

The report, Good Practice Guidance for Providers of Social Networking and Other User Interactive Services, recommends making social networking profiles for users under 18 private by default, and increasing reporting mechanisms for bullying or other anti-social behavior on social networking sites.   It provides recommendations for implementation by service providers to minimise the risks to users and information that can be incorporated into Australian safety campaigns targeted to parents, carers and users of services.

"The guidelines aim to ensure the online social networking experience remains a positive one by providing good practice recommendations to online social networking providers to assist them in providing proper protections for their users", said Mr Chapman.

The full document is available on the UK Home Office website.

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