Friday, October 24, 2008

NSPCC renew call for pre-installed internet safety software

Three out of four children visiting the NSPCC's children's website have seen images on the internet that disturbed them. 377 of the 497 children that participated in a recent poll on the site claimed to have been disturbed by internet images. Full story at

As a result, the charity has renewed its calls that computer manufacturers and retailers should install security to stop children finding violent or sexual content.

This provides an interesting comparison to Tanya Byron's recommendations in this area earlier this year:

"Our aim should be to encourage parents to engage with the technical tools available to help keep their children safe. In order to do this, some parents will need to adopt a different mindset by moving from what a psychologist would call a state of precontemplation (not engaging with, nor thinking about the issue) to a state of contemplation (deciding to engage with and think about the issue), where they are really thinking about what they can do to make their children safer online. We know that parents take action where an incident has already taken place. However, I believe that a more effective approach is possible, where technical tools take parents through a series of steps which require them to mentally engage with the issues and think about what parental controls are appropriate for their family. Having filters set on by default would not make parents engage, since they are presented with a simple choice of leaving the filter on or turning it off…I do not recommend requiring computer manufacturers to pre-install filtering software which is switched on by default."

Difficult one to call, this. I fully agree that parents should engage more fully with Internet safety issues, but configuring parental controls so they are effective without being intrusive is a non-trivial task likely to be beyond the patience of many, me included I expect.

An intereresting consideration for our Home Access endeavours too.

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