This report on internet safety measures looks at parents' strategies for protecting children when they are online. We set out the context of the internet, look at the opportunities, risks and challenges, and explore how parents can manage those risks and challenges.
The report also provides an update on the steps taken by the UK's four largest fixed-line internet service providers (ISPs) - BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media - to offer an unavoidable choice, both to new and to existing customers, whether or not to activate a family-friendly network-level filtering service. This followed an agreement between the Government and the ISPs, under which the ISPs committed to present the unavoidable choice to all new and existing internet customers by the end of December 2014.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) asked Ofcom to report on internet filters and online safety, including the measures put in place by the ISPs. This fourth report focuses on recent research, the progress made by the ISPs, and other developments during the past year.
This Internet safety measures report looks at parental strategies for protection of children. The report gathers data from our Children and Parents: Media use and attitudes survey 2014 and looks at other developments in children's online safety during 2014.
This is the third of three reports that Government asked Ofcom to produce on online safety. The first report, published in January 2014, looked at how parents protect children online. The second report set out the measures put in place by the UK's four largest fixed line internet service providers - BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media - to introduce family friendly network level filtering.
Following the Executive Summary in section 1 the report has a two-part structure as follows:
Part 1 The Context of the Internet
Section 2 - Opportunities, risks and challenges
Takes 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.
Section 3 - Parental mediation: managing the risks to children
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.
Section 4 - Safety mechanisms and the role of industry
Describes in detail many of the tools and mechanisms offered to parents to protect their children online and notes some of the issues around such tools. It does so within a simplified model of the internet from content origination to content reception by the user and gives an overview of the status of internet intermediaries like ISPs.
Part 2 The Research
Section 5 - Children and the internet: use and concerns
Sets the context for mediation by looking at key changes in children’s use of the internet, their likes and dislikes compared to the online concerns of parents.
Section 6 - Parental mediation strategies: take -up, awareness of and confidence of parents in relation to parental controls
Provides both quantitative figures and qualitative insights to create an in-depth picture of the broad range of online mediation strategies employed by parents and their levels of confidence about their ability to keep their children safe online.
Section 7 - Safety measures on sites regularly visited by children
Looks at the research available regarding parental mediation of websites regularly visited by children, including search engines, YouTube and social networking sites.
Section 8 - Why parents choose not to apply parental control tools
Looks at the various reasons why some parents choose not to install parental controls.