Parental Control - your questions answered

What is O2’s Parental Control?

This is a choice we give parents who want peace of mind that their children are accessing websites for under 12’s,  providing a safe, educational and interesting internet experience.  We work with Symantec Rulespace who provide services for web content categorisation, and the category we’ve selected is ‘Kids’ content which is for the under 12 age group.  We’re the only operator to offer this additional/optional service in the UK.

Parental Control is a service we offer to help parents to protect their children while they’re online. It enables children to access the web via their mobile to a number of sites which are suitable under this category for under 12’s.

The content is child focussed – it is not attempting to define everything that a child can or can’t read.  We’re offering a child friendly environment where parents and children alike can spend time (together or alone) safe in the knowledge that all content under this category is suitable for the child based on the Kids category.

Our default setting means we allow all our customers to access the internet for all websites except any adult related content, Parental Control is just an additional service we’re offering to parents.

 

The areas under Kids include websites which fall under the below topics:

  • Activities and crafts
  • Colouring/artwork
  • Interactive learning, information for school projects, sites to answer children’s questions and thirst of knowledge.
  • Homepages of popular books; publishers of children’s books; book discussion with other kids
  • Official sites of comic heroes, publishing houses, fan-sites made for kids.
  • Age appropriate gaming portals
  • Age appropriate homepages of singers and pop groups, online archives, downloads
  • Homepages of children’s shows, movies, TV stations, producers
  • Homepages of clubs, leagues, associations. Publications on sports. Educational sites on rules/regulations. History and background information.
  • Age appropriate portals, directories, search, technical help and tutoring
  • “Cool” sites for kids – sites associated with currently fashionable topics like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings. Popular “cool” sites (voted on by children – as offered by several kid portals) like virtual zoos, magic, etc.

 

These areas contain websites that are recognised as safe by us and Symantec Rulespace.  There could be other websites that are suitable for under 12 but don’t sit under these areas.  We are happy to look at these on an individual basis.

We respect our customers’ freedom to choose what material they access. But equally, we want to offer parents the choice to help protect their children when using mobile internet.

If you’d like to take advantage of the Parental Control service you can check your child’s phone and opt in by calling the Age Verification automated service on 61018 from the O2 mobile – it’s a free call. Just dial the number and follow the prompts.

Here’s more about O2’s work on helping to keep children safe when using their mobiles – http://www.o2.co.uk/protectourchildren

O2 adheres to the UK Code of Practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles. Learn more about it here.

 

FAQ’s:

 

Are you dictating what under 12s can see?

Not at all.  O2’s Parental Control is there for parents to opt in and allow their children access to safe websites.  We do this in line with the Symantec Rulespace category ‘Kids’, to enjoy the internet safely and to give parents peace of mind that their children isn’t seeing anything that may not be suitable.

There are websites which would easily sit under one of these areas but aren’t accessible under Parental Control. Why?

We use the category ‘Kids’ as specified by Symantec Rulespace who provide a services for web content categorisation. The technology classifies content accurately for the vast majority of sites. With the millions of sites now connected to the web and the wide variety of content, some may be inadvertently be missed.  If this is the case we can rectify once checks have been completed and determined it is suitable for under 12s.

Why are some sites blocked under Parental Control?

Websites aren’t necessarily blocked.  It could mean that they don’t fit into one of the areas above under the Kids category.

Why do you restrict access to News and Blogs under these areas?

This is because the information (which may appear on News websites and Blogs) can often change and therefore may contain information that is not suitable to this age group.

My website is showing as blocked but would be fine for the under 12s.

That’s not a problem.  We can add your URL to our list of safe sites for under 12s once we have carried out checks. – just let us know through @O2 on Twitter or via the O2 Community.

I want my children to see News and other sites which sit outside these areas.

That’s fine.  You don’t need to opt in for Parental Control.  As standard we allow all our customers to access the internet for all websites except any adult related content (18+) – so you don’t need to do anything.  Access to adult related content needs to be requested and age verified before we lift the restriction.

Can I check to see if my website is blocked for under 12s?

Once you’ve switched parental control on for your child’s mobile, you can test any website. To turn parental control on/ off – you can call 61818 to control web access on your mobile or use the online service.

Why don’t you include other child friendly sites as standard?

The ‘Kids’ category we use with Rulespace doesn’t include all child friendly sites.  We can add other websites so that they are accessible under Parental Control once we have reviewed their content and are satisfied they are suitable for the under 12s.

Your URL checker is down.  Why?

We are currently in the process of reviewing and updating this page and will make it live as soon as possible.