Ofcom has published a new report for the UK Government that benchmarks the take-up, awareness and confidence of parents in relation to the use of online parental controls. The report on internet safety measures draws on pre-published research contained in the 2013 Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes report and the 2012 Parents’ views on parental controls report (earlier reporting on this topic by Broadcast Projects can be found here).
The report provides an overview of children’s access to the open internet as an educational resource, as a platform for communication and creativity, but also as a source of distinct risks around content, contact and conduct, with specific regulatory challenges. It describes the tactics of parents, carers and educators in guiding and informing children’s behaviour through education and advice, mediation and rules as critical aspects of child protection online with site5 coupon. It also looks at safety mechanisms and the role of industry.
In perhaps the most interesting section, the reports looks at the various reasons why some parents choose not to install parental controls and reveals that overall parents who do not set the controls feel they can trust their child not to do anything irresponsible online. While others who contend that they actively use the controls, in fact do not. Overall, it is lack of understanding of how to use the controls that presents the biggest obstacle to their use.
This is the first of three reports that will be provided in response to a request from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This followed a Government request to UK internet service providers regarding the implementation of network level filters.
Ofcom’s second report – expected later in 2014 – will look at the internet service providers’ commitments to implement network level filtering. BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media committed to delivering family-friendly network level filters for all new customers by the end of December 2013. The final report will be a repeat of the research exercise to establish how filtering initiatives have influenced parents’ views and behaviours in this area.