The European Commission says it has brokered a deal between various social networks, including Facebook, Bebo, YouTube, MySpace and many others, to keep children safer while surfing.
This sort of thing is always terrifically difficult to police and regulate without breaking the models of the networks themselves, but here's the bulletpoint list of the Commission's goals, at least a few of which should be practicable:
* Providing an easy to use and accessible "report abuse" button, allowing users to report inappropriate contact from or conduct by another user with one click.
* Making sure that the full online profiles and contact lists of website users who are registered as under 18s are set to "private" by default. This will make it harder for people with bad intentions to get in touch with the young person.
* Ensuring that private profiles of users under the age of 18 are not searchable (on the websites or via search engines)
* Guaranteeing that privacy options are prominent and accessible at all times, so that users can easily work out if just their friends, or the entire world, can see what they post online.
* Preventing under-age users from using their services: if a social networking site targets teenagers over 13, it should be difficult for people below that age to register.
Techie stuff commissioner Viviane Reding called the agreement "an important step forward towards making our children's clicks on social networking sites safer in Europe".
"Social networking has enormous potential to flourish in Europe, to help boost our economy and make our society more interactive – as long as children and teenagers have the trust and the right tools to remain safe when making new 'friends' and sharing personal details online," she said. "I will closely monitor the implementation of today's agreement and the Commission will come back to this matter in a year's time."
Best of luck.