Sunday, 16 March 2014

Parents rekindle discussion on internet access for mobile devices

Protecting your child from accessing inappropriate material over the internet is something that most parents are keen to enforce and with internet filters and parental control screening many consumers feel they have this covered. As did a mother of a teenage boy who, upon getting him a Kindle, followed the instructions given out on the Amazon website and clicked on the Settings menu to switch on the Parental Control and also restricted web browsing, thinking this would screen out unsuitable sites.

Consumer’s expenditure was protected but not their child’s internet access.

 However, sometime later when picking up her sons Kindle, she was understandably horrified to find very graphic images stored on the device from several hard core pornography sites. Talking to a radio consumer programme she described how she had contacted Amazon only to be told that the parental control was only there to prevent children from accessing the registered card on the website. So in effect, the only control being exercised was protecting the consumer’s expenditure.

She told the radio interviewer that on the Amazon website it has said that “simply add a password to the Settings menu to restrict access to web browsing”. Her complaint, which seems to be a justified one is that it should be much more explicit because she thought she was screening out inappropriate sites and content. She is not alone in this as a spokesperson from Childnet explained that parental controls are a help but not a solution because they usually don’t have content filters.

Consumers advised to contact home internet provider

There are steps you can take to protect your children and in the first instance you do need to contact your home internet provider because they can provide a free filter to help with screening out access to internet sites. This can be a bit of a time consuming process but Childnet have made the process simple for parents as they have a video on their website that takes you through step by step showing how to set up controls. This can be accessed on their website and it is worth spending some time browsing their site and the advice they offer.

Another important point was raised about what your children can access when away from home, so staying with a friend for a sleepover or school trip for example. Childnet recommend that parents need to speak with other families if they have your child over to stay and ask what filters they use for their own offspring. We can never fully be certain of everything our child is accessing via the web, but the message that came across from this radio programme is not to assume the technology will do this for you, and making Childnet a favourite on your browser seems a good starting point.

If you have had the same experience with your child then get in touch and let us know- we’re listening!


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