During the period between 1999 and 2004, the Safer Internet programme was a major element in the European Commission's activity witch aims to fight against illegal and harmful content in the Internet. The Safer Internet Programme provides funding for activities to deal with illegal and harmful content, as part of a coherent approach by the European Union. The programme has set up a European network of hotlines, encouraged self-regulation and code of conducts, supported development of filtering and rating systems and stimulated awareness actions.
The mission of Safer Internet is to promote a safer use of the Internet through contributing to a culture of responsibility, enabling children and young people to benefit evermore from the Internet.
The vision of this programme is to become an enhanced European network promoting a safer use of the Internet embracing existing and future technology challenges, to empower children and young people in a safer information society.
There is general agreement about the possible risks to children and teenagers associated with Internet use. The Safer Internet awareness campaign believes that the answer to these possible risks includes education (to contribute to the necessary change of attitudes in order to create a culture of responsibility) and prevention (in order to promote the positive and beneficial use of the new technologies).
This work is being performed with partners at national level and at a European level; addressing various target groups : not only educational institutions, parents, social workers, librarians, consumer associations, and children, but also industry, government and the media.
The Safer Internet campaign is working not only towards creating tools that will offer advice, but also in raising awareness to empower and educate people towards a safer information society.
The Safer Internet campaign also works closely with two other awareness projects that are supported by the European Commission. Although all three have different approaches, they have the same goal: Internet safety: SAFT (http://www.saftonline.org) and Educaunet (http://www.educaunet.org).
The coverage of the Safer Internet programme extends to new online technologies, including mobile and broadband content, online games, peer-to-peer file transfer, and all forms of real-time communications such as chat rooms and instant messages primarily with the aim of improving the protection of children and minors. Action will be taken to ensure that a broader range of areas of illegal and harmful content and conduct of concern are covered, including racism and violence.