Tuesday, 11 September 2018 21:33

Comms Alliance announces re-invigorated Family Friendly Filter program

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Australian parents who wish to protect their families from unwanted or harmful Internet content now have "new options" under the reinvigorated Family Friendly Filter program operated by the industry lobby group Communications Alliance.

Three new filter vendors have now passed the rigorous independent testing needed to be certified as Family Friendly Filter providers. 

The newly accredited filters are:

Australians can choose a certified filter provider by visiting the Family Friendly Filter page on the Communications Alliance website.

Communications Alliance chief executive John Stanton said the availability of three certified providers was particularly welcome in an environment of increasing concern about the potentially harmful effects of children being exposed to sexually explicit content online.

“We are working closely with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on online safety issues, and the Family Friendly Filter program has an important role to play in offering safe options to parents,” he said.

To qualify as a Family Friendly Filter provider, filter vendors must pass "stringent testing performed by respected independent testing house, Enex TestLab, which uses an undesirable content site list provided by the industry regulator, the ACMA".

"The testing criteria include effectiveness, ease of use, configurability, availability of support and agreement by the candidate filter company to update the filter as required by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner – for example, where the Office determines following a complaint that a specified site is prohibited under Australian law.

"The filters come in a number of levels of classification, enabling families to choose a level of filtering that is suitable to the age of children in the family.

"Filters are only one tool that can be used to encourage safe Internet access. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides a range of information, tools and educational material for parents and schools. The Office also offers help with and accepts complaints regarding cyber bullying and offensive and illegal content.

"In addition, many Australian ISPs have tools and information available to parents concerned about online safety issues."

Some examples include:

FOXTEL

Setting up parental controls for Foxtel Broadband. 

iiNet

Provides specific lesson plans targeted at distinct age groups, available on iiNet's website.

Optus

Information for Optus customers on cyber safety and cyber security is available here.

In addition, Optus runs two separate cyber safety programs in schools: Digital Thumbprint and and Kids Helpline @ School. Both are certified by the eSafety Commissioner’s office.

Telstra

Various resources for children and young people are available on Telstra's website, and the company has added a new section on personal mobile safety.

Telstra’s Mobile Protect helps customers set parental controls and restrict usage on mobile devices on their post-paid account.

Telstra’s Broadband Protect helps protect devices connected to Telstra’s home broadband service from websites hosting known malicious content, scams or viruses by blocking those websites at the Telstra network. 

Through Telstra Foundations partners, PROJECT ROCKET and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Telstra helps connect young people and library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of technology.

This includes through eSmart libraries with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, launched in 2012, which will better equip 1,500 public libraries across the country and support library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of technology.

This $8 million, multi-year partnership is one of the most significant community cyber-safety programs ever undertaken in Australia. 

TPG

General information about online safety.

Vodafone

Vodafone has cyber safety, digital parenting and cyber bullying information available.

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