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Should comms providers handle web safety?

I've touched on this subject in the general discussion area, but having noted that communications providers should do more in the field of protecting children online (or helping parents protect kids), I started to wonder how that might work, and if the CSPs should handle all online safety if going to the effort to protect younger users anyway.

 Here in the UK, ISP TalkTalk has made built-in web security a selling point for its broadband packages, so there's potential for CSPs to use security as a point of differentiation. However, that could lead to a situation where each provider offers something slightly different, thus confusing consumers about what exactly is, and isn't, covered.

 What I'd like to see is CSP's teaming up to develop some sort of definitive guide that we can all use. I've not delved too deeply into whether such guidance already exists, so apologies if there's already a handy 'top ten online tips' floating around somewhere. But my point is, this is something the industry should act on voluntarily, rather than waiting for governments or regulators to do the job.

 Any such policy needs to offer some clear guidlines for parents about educating their children on the dangers of the online world, though operator led initiatives would surely make the parent's job easier by having a 'proper' grown up supporting what they say.

 Trouble is, its not always the easiest thing to educate kids. While operator's like du have taken a step in the right direction with a scheme targeted at 6-12 year olds, what do you do with younger users - say that raft of two year olds we're told are the main users of iPads? In that scenario, responsibility rests with the parents, so maybe CSPs and device makers could focus on offering easy-to-use tools on what can, or can't be accessed?

 Either way, it's a drum I'll keep banging until my sister's kids stop infecting her laptop with viruses, and I stop receiving spam mail from her. :-)


  • Adrian  Hall
    Adrian Hall Our children are our future. This universal fact, coupled with young people’s particular vulnerability in an online environment, made a specialized initiative within the larger GCA framework a necessity.

    The legal, technical and institutional challenges...  more
    October 30, 2012