Large Internet providers are joining the developers of parental control software and antivirus tools for seeking the most efficient methods of protecting children from online threats.
The fight against adult materials in the global network on the legal level is highly inefficient at the moment. Finding pornography and extremist materials online is not a problem these days. What makes the matter even worse is that children today are often more educated about computers and the Internet than their parents.
These are the reasons why so many people put so much effort into creating technical means of child protection on all levels — from operating systems to Internet providers.
Apart from the Internet threats described above (malware, unwanted sites, direct contact with abusers, theft or personal information), social networks are emerging as a major source of potential threats: Internet addiction, excessive use of social networks and, of course, new viruses that can be contracted in social networks, possible contacts with abusers or all sorts and theft of personal information.
Child protection mechanisms can be implemented on several tiers:
- using the integrated tools of the operating system,
- using special software,
- on the Internet providers’ end.
Starting from Windows Vista, Microsoft has been including its Parental Control tool into all versions of its operating systems.
These applications can be standalone (KinderGate, Time-Boss, Time Sheriff) and included in modular antivirus solutions, such as Kaspersky Internet Security.
Providers have also noticed this problem and are trying to find viable solutions for solving it.
This year, many Russian Internet providers signed the Children and Youth Safe Internet Charter and made a commitment to implement software tools that will restrict children’s access to illegal and potentially unsafe online content.
Such solutions have already been implemented by OAO UTK («Children’s Internet» service) and OAO Vimpelcom (Beeline).
KyivStar, a large Ukrainian provider and mobile carrier, in cooperation with the Institute of Psychology of the National Academy of Sciences released a special brochure for parents devoted to the security-related aspects of online activities of their children called “Children on the Internet: teaching your children safety on the Internet”. Besides the distribution of this brochure, the company also maintains a white list of sites with safe content.