Parents want safe mobile browsing for children

Flash Networks, a global provider of intelligent mobile Internet solutions, and RuleSpace, provider of OEM web categorisation services, announced that, according to a survey they recently conducted together, a significant majority of parents of teenage and pre-teen children do not feel comfortable knowing their children have unsupervised access to the internet, and believe that mobile carriers should offer parents and children protection from accessing inappropriate content.

Conducted in December 2009, the survey polled over 250 parents of children aged eight to seventeen, spanning eight countries and representing subscribers from 18 different mobile carriers.

Survey results reveal that 73% of parents do not feel comfortable knowing their children have unsupervised access to the internet, and 86% of parents expect their mobile carriers to provide them with a parental control solution. In addition, 45% of parents are willing to pay their mobile operator for a parental control solution and, of those, 40% would be willing to pay more than $3 per month.

Respondents also indicated that they would like to have more control over how their children access the mobile internet. Altogether, 52% percent of parents would be interested in limiting their children’s access to the Internet during certain hours of the day, and 59% of parents of children aged eight to twelve would be interested in having the ability to define a limited number of websites that their child can access. The survey results also show that 72% of all parents would be interested in receiving a report with a list of websites their child has accessed.

Stephen Balkam, CEO of the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), said: “What this research shows is that with the dramatic and rapid shift of internet access to mobile phones, parents are increasingly concerned about online safety on these devices. There’s no doubt that parents need the tools to help them overcome concerns about their children gaining unsupervised Internet access. Once again, Flash Networks, together with RuleSpace, has given us a timely reminder of the challenges operators and parents face, and the possible solution that meets the needs of both.”

In June 2009, Flash Networks announced the availability of Content Control 2.0, a policy-based solution based on RuleSpace’s web categorisation data and technology, which enables parents to pick and choose which content they consider to be inappropriate or dangerous, and define how filtering should be applied for each family member. With the web-based application, parents have the ability to control web content access based on the type of content and/or time of day (e.g. to prevent access after bedtime or during school hours). Parents can also choose to monitor internet behaviour by receiving notification if access is attempted to dangerous content categories such as suicide, drugs, or anorexia. These user customisation features transform content control from a basic black list service to a revenue-generating solution and a key differentiator for mobile operators.

Flash Network’s Content Control solution is part of the Harmony Mobile Internet Services Gateway which enables operators to enhance user quality of experience, reduce operational expenses, and manage and monetise access to the open internet by applying best in class services to mobile data traffic. Flash Networks’ Content Control solutions are currently deployed at several tier one operators in Europe and North America, including T-Mobile USA, Bell Mobility, and Wind.