Keeping kids safe online

Various news stories over the past few months have re-kindled the debate of helping children stay safe online. Helping to provide a safe digital environment for children is something we take very seriously.

You may have seen our recent blog post about O2 Wifi and how we filter adult content by default. On our mobile network, customers have to prove they are over 18 before they can access 18+ rated content.

But we are also committed to helping empower and educate parents on how to keep their children safe online.

In August O2 sent an SMS to all of its consumer customers inviting them to visit Staying Safe, our online portal where customers can learn about online and mobile safety issues and getpractical help and advice on how to stay safe when using their mobiles or accessing the Internet. This has been our biggest ever SMS marketing campaign for any product or service.

Staying Safe highlights topics chosen by our customers such as;  what content we block; Think before you post; Online bullying; Phishing or scam emails; How to spot a scam email; Keeping your money safe; In-app purchases and protecting your phone. Take a look here: http://wap.o2.co.uk/onlinesafety

This is just part of our journey to promote child and online safety. We have been pioneers in delivering content filtering for our customers including not only restricting access to 18+ material for non-age-verified customers but also providing a safe under-12 internet environment via our parental control setting. Visit www.o2.co.uk/parents to find out more.

Alongside this work, we have an on-going dialogue with a number of industry bodies. These include:

  • IWF (Internet Watch Foundation) directing our customers to anonymously report websites that displays child sexual abuse material at the Internet Watch Foundation website. www.iwf.org.uk.
  • NSPCC to help tackle harmful online activity between young people particularly given the rise in inappropriate communications and online bullying.

Lucio Godoy, Head of Digital Confidence at O2 says “The internet is an integral part of everyday life for most young people with countless benefits including entertaining ways to communicate and learn as well as creating, consuming and sharing content. But as with all technology there are those who mis-use it. Children should be able to experience the benefits but be alert to the risks and know how to protect themselves online.”