In the home office report released last week on the sexualisation of children, outlining its strategy to track this challenge, the report recommended 36 steps including calling for games consoles, mobile phones and some computers to be sold with parental controls already switched on.
Parental controls would allow families to automatically filter which on demand services and online material their children can use. The review forms part of the Home Office’s broader attempts to have a louder public debate about how to combat violence against women and girls.
Mike Manzo, chief marketing officer at Openet, provider of a parental and content controls solution for mobile operators, commented: “A key recommendation of this home office report is that mobile phones should come with parental controls software installed and activated by the operator. It is time for parents – and the mobile industry – to tackle this issue head on by selecting the content targeted at children. The internet and mobile phones are playing an important role in the sexualisation of children, not only by making graphic content accessible – the advent of social media has also opened the doors to ‘sexual bullying’, with teenagers sharing revelling content and pressuring their peers to join the game.
“With parental controls parents and guardians can set limits and controls on children’s usage and prevent access to inappropriate content – providing peace of mind and efficiently helping address this growing challenge,” continued Manzo. “Such controls are very flexible and easy to set up, for example, parents can block incoming SMS and MMS with inappropriate content can be blocked, restrict access to websites based on content categorisation (such as adult, violent, gambling) or actual content on the page. Today many parents don’t even know that such tools are available to them. By making parental controls automatically available, mobile operators can work with parents to help protect children against inappropriate content.”