MIRACLE Hackathon | October 2015
MIRACLE is a European project which provides a data
model to create an interoperable age-ratings and classification solution
(Machine-readable and interoperable age classification labels in Europe). In
essence, it would avoid the necessity for any adult to get familiar with the
many different age-rating and classification systems whenever he/she wishes to
restrict unsuitable content or choose suitable content for a child.
On the 19th and 20th of October,
the MIRACLE project hosted a Hackathon which brought together 8 teams of
experienced developers. The aim of the Hackathon was to showcase the use of the
MIRACLE data model through an app or a service.
Martin Schmalzried from COFACE was a member of the
jury, tasked with examining and selecting the winning entries. The winning
entry was an application called SMILE which used face and voice recognition
technology to estimate the age of a user. This technology is very promising as
protecting younger children from harmful content is of utmost importance,
especially with the upcoming virtual/augmented reality revolution.
runner-up, Family Alert, was an application which enabled real-time
parent/child interaction regarding authorization to view certain
content/game/service. Encouraging discussions between parents and children over
the suitability of content is of utmost importance, as it may trigger important
conversations about sexuality, violence, racism, xenophobia, gender stereotypes
and so forth, all of which are key in developing resilience to harmful online
For more information about the MIRACLE project, visit
the website here
Social networks are being used more and more bychildren. Over 20% of 9-12 year olds use Facebook and 38% are using online socialnetwork tools. This raises concerns revolving around the protection of privacyand private data, cyber bullying, and contact with strangers and exposure toinappropriate content.
There are a number of basic recommendationsthat help in addressing these issues:
1. Parents should promote a healthy and balancedlifestyle before focusing on the "technical" aspects about the use ofnew technologies and accessing social networks. A healthy life balance initself reduces the risks of children being harmed online.
2. Parents and adults should practice what theypreach since many adults themselves spend hours in front of screens and set abad example for their children.
3. Parents should also make the most out ofavailable tools to protect their children from advertising and inappropriatecontent.
4. Companies such as online social networkproviders should implement "easy fixes" which benefit everyone viameasures such as systematic encryption of private data or a high privacy bydefault setting.
5. Companies should also enhance user controlover privacy features such as the access of applications to phone book contactsand the likes.
6. Finally, more awareness raising needs to bedone around the features of social networks and how these work in order toreduce misuse or abuse of these features (for instance, the "like"button and the spread of spam).
As regards children, they require specificattention. Children are considered to be vulnerable users and as such, shouldbe entitled special protection measures online and offline.
Services and products (devices) offered tochildren need to be age-appropriate and must be at the forefront of businessconcerns. So far, smartphones and tablets have a single interface designed foradults but used by children.
The role of family organisations, includingCOFACE, is not only to lobby companies and public authorities to create a saferonline environment for children but also to educate and raise awareness of bothparents and children on the positive use of new technologies.
Published on 05 Jul 2012
Updated on 30 Oct 2015