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.

Join the newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags online safetyeuropean commissionsecurityinternetgovernment

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

Jennifer Baker

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Ratchada Dunn

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The Huddle Board’s built in program; Sharp Touch Viewing software allows us to easily manipulate and edit our documents (jpegs and PDFs) all at the same time on the dashboard.

George Khoury

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

The biggest perks for me would be that it comes with easy to use and comprehensive programs that make the collaboration process a whole lot more intuitive and organic

David Coyle

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

I rate the printer as a 5 out of 5 stars as it has been able to fit seamlessly into my busy and mobile lifestyle.

Kurt Hegetschweiler

Brother PocketJet PJ-773 A4 Portable Thermal Printer

It’s perfect for mobile workers. Just take it out — it’s small enough to sit anywhere — turn it on, load a sheet of paper, and start printing.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?