Parental control programs perform poorly with Web 2.0 sites

An EU survey has raised concerns about keeping children safe online

A survey by the European Commission has found that parental control programs aimed at keeping children safe online do not function well with Web 2.0 sites, smartphones or games consoles.

Although 84 per cent of the software programs tested worked well with traditional home computers, they do not efficiently filter Internet content via mobile phones or games consoles -- this at a time when 31 per cent of European youngsters access the Internet on their mobile phones and 26 per cent go online via game consoles. In addition, content from Web 2.0 sources like social-networking sites, forums, blogs and instant messaging also frequently slipped through the safety net.

The study, published on Thursday, analyzed 26 parental control tools for PCs, three for games consoles and two for mobile phones. It also found that while software is good at filtering adult online content, there is still a one-in-five chance that unsuitable content, including sites promoting anorexia, suicide or self-mutilation, could pass through their filters.

Meanwhile a separate Commission-funded survey by EUKIdsOnline found that only a quarter of European parents use parental control software to monitor, track or filter what their children can do online. However, there are significant differences from country to country, ranging from 54 per cent in the U.K. to just nine per cent in Romania.

This may be the result of limited language options. The survey found that although there are many programs available in English, the choice of tools for other languages is limited.

The tools were tested according to four criteria: functionality, security, effectiveness and usability. The study interviewed 25,142 children aged 9-16 who use the Internet, plus one of their parents.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

Tags online safetysecurityeuropean commissiongovernmentinternet

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Most Popular Reviews

Follow Us

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Shopping.com

Latest News Articles

Resources

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?