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Delivering the safest mobile experience for families and children: Identifying and stamping out mobile misuse and cyber-bullying

By January 18, 2012 No Comments

Chances are they’ll be using them in bed, when they’re supposed to be sleeping, and in the classroom when accessing a social networking site seems a lot more attractive than long division. There’s also a chance that they will receive messages that cause them pain or distress, and a possibility that they are using their mobiles to bully other kids. Most parents have rules about how and when their kids can use their mobiles, but there’s the problem: many of these rules are useless because parents can’t enforce them and there’s a good chance  the kids will take steps to hide their mobile activity.

Unfortunately, the above scenario is an accurate reflection of mobile phone usage by teenagers, and this is supported by research conducted by Harris Interactive on behalf of Openet. The researchers interviewed more than 1,000 teenagers to gain insight into their mobile usage and behavior.  The results of the research showed a high degree of cyberbullying and potentially unsafe Internet usage– for example – in the U.S., 28% of teens have experienced cyberbullying on their mobile phones, with this figure rising to 46% for heavy users.

The research showed that parental rules are largely ineffective – 70% of teenagers say they have parental rules, but 47% of teenagers say their parents don’t monitor their mobile usage and 42% actively hide their mobile behavior from their parents.

Many mobile operators have guides for parents to ensure ‘safe’ mobile usage. This isn’t enough. This is ‘check box’ compliance. Operators that offer the most advanced parental controls solutions recognize that it makes good business sense. Some operators offer basic URL filtering free of charge, and then charge for usage controls. This means more loyal subscribers, more usage, and more value added service revenue – not to mention happier, safer customers. Visit www.openet.com/parentalcontrols to learn more.