72% think mobile internet harms kids

Internet users wary of kids using the mobile 'net
Internet users wary of kids using the mobile 'net

A new YouGov survey has found that 72 per cent of internet users believe children are looking at harmful content on their mobile phones.

Although the definition of harmful content ranged from accessing unmoderated chatrooms to violent games and pornography, to consensus among the 1,900 surveryed appears to be the mobile internet is quickly presenting a growing threat.

Methods to resolve the problem include a PIN code that would set the level of content that a user could access, or a text warning system, whereby accessing a site deemed harmful would trigger an SMS sent to a pre-defined 'parent phone'.

Although the problem then might be actually finding the child which has slipped away from a desktop to have a gander at something less-than-savoury.

Shouldering the burden

Mott MacDonald Schema, a management consultancy advising the technology, media and telecommunications industries, commissioned the study and believes that the burden of responsibility fall on the shoulders of the mobile operators.

Tom Allen, head of Mott MacDonald's information, communications and media business said: "The internet was developed to share information, but we must be sensible about what younger generations can access.

"As the internet becomes more accessible due to new delivery platforms such as mobile phones and games consoles, it's increasingly important we find ways to protect our children from inappropriate content.

"Operators should consider self regulation and their social responsibility, as regulators may soon demand that operators implement methods to protect children."

However, a problem might arise when asking children, or their parents, to reveal their age, with more research finding that over 33 per cent would be unwilling to reveal personal data to their internet service providers for security purposes.

Gareth Beavis
Formerly Global Editor in Chief

Gareth has been part of the consumer technology world in a career spanning three decades. He started life as a staff writer on the fledgling TechRadar, and has grown with the site (primarily as phones, tablets and wearables editor) until becoming Global Editor in Chief in 2018. Gareth has written over 4,000 articles for TechRadar, has contributed expert insight to a number of other publications, chaired panels on zeitgeist technologies, presented at the Gadget Show Live as well as representing the brand on TV and radio for multiple channels including Sky, BBC, ITV and Al-Jazeera. Passionate about fitness, he can bore anyone rigid about stress management, sleep tracking, heart rate variance as well as bemoaning something about the latest iPhone, Galaxy or OLED TV.