Recently, a BlackBerry Cool reader emailed me asking how to protect his daughter’s BlackBerry from adult content. His email was indicative of a growing number of parents whose children own smartphones and have access to inappropriate content.
Flash Networks provides mobile Internet Quality of Experience (QoE) solutions, which include filtering adult content from the mobile Internet. Their product has been around for some time now, and has evolved into a formidable solution for controlling content on both the traditional mobile web, as well as the more complex web 2.0.
Existing mobile Internet safety solutions, such as “URL Filtering,” rely on pre-classification of the Internet into several categories. Requests are matched to a pre-existing list and access is either granted or blocked accordingly. More advanced solutions are able to address the challenges associated with “Web 2.0”, categorizing content on the fly, thereby enabling filtering of user-generated content websites, such as MySpace, which are beyond the scope of URL Filtering solutions.
With an easy-to-use, Web-based application, parents can control and monitor web content access for each of their children based on his/her unique needs and family’s ethics, customize hours and content types for each child – limiting or preventing access to inappropriate content, and control access after bedtime or during school hours.
Parents can also choose to monitor Internet behavior by receiving immediate notification if access is attempted to dangerous content categories such as suicide, drugs, pornography, anorexia, and more or by receiving a summary of their children’s Internet access behavior. More than just blocking undesired content, this feature gives parents access to information regarding where their children are spending time online, providing parents with the tools to initiate an open dialogue with their children.
For young children, parents can create a “walled garden”/protected environment by giving them access to only a limited number of age-appropriate sites. Furthermore, parents can choose to grant or block access to certain applications, such as chat, video and image exchange.
The Flash Networks solution has been implemented with several carriers including T-Mobile. If you’re looking for a content filtering solution, contact your carrier and ask them what solutions they provide. If they don’t use Flash Networks or a similar solution, consider using this as leverage to get a deal on your rates, or get out of your contract entirely and switch carriers.