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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June, 2005, 11:35 GMT 12:35 UK
Parents urged to check downloads
Computer and DVD

A campaign urging parents to become aware of their children's music downloading habits has been launched.

As little as one tenth of parents understand how music is obtained from the internet, according to children's online charity Childnet.

It adds that young people may be swapping files illegally without their parents' knowledge.

Tens of thousands of leaflets will be distributed through record shops, libraries and other public buildings.

The leaflet - Young People, Music and the Internet: A Guide for Parents about P2P, file-sharing and downloading - will be published in 19 countries and eight languages.

"We believe most parents have no idea how file-sharing works," said Stephen Carrick-Davies, CEO of Childnet.

"Parents need to get up to speed with what their children are doing online."

'Vitally important'

The campaign has been welcomed by the UK music industry.

"We are committed to working with parents to make them aware of the dangers of illegal downloading," said Peter Jamieson, chairman of the British Phonographic Industry (BPI).

"There has already been huge publicity about this issue, but we are committed to doing even more to get the message across."

His comments were echoed by Dennis Henderson of Virgin Megastores. "It is as vitally important to positively inform parents and children how to download legally as it is to avoid the dangers of illegal filesharing," he said.

The campaign coincides with new figures that show illegal online music consumption has taken a firm foothold across Europe.

According to JupiterResearch, 15% of European internet users use peer-to-peer networks to illegally download music on at least a monthly basis.

Spain had the highest file-sharing rate in 2004 with 26% of users.

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