Kids’ stuff gets serious

Given that take up of the mobile web is still in the early stages, it seems reasonable to ask why companies like AdaptiveMobile, which provides antivirus, anti spam and content filtering services for mobile operators, feel that mobile internet security should be accorded such a high priority.

One major reason, according to Lorcan Burke, CEO of Adaptive, is the growth of the youth market.

“As operators increasingly move towards flat monthly fees for mobile internet browsing and handset manufacturers develop improved browser capabilities, uptake of the mobile internet is set to grow rapidly,” he said.

“Just like the internet ten to 15 years ago, consumer uptake is being primarily driven by under-35s who are typically early adopters of new technology.”

The Mobile Youth survey, conducted by market research agency YouGov on behalf of UK retailer the Carphone Warehouse, found that 71 per cent of UK 11 year olds now own a mobile phone.

“With an increasingly wider demographic of young children possessing mobile phones, the boundaries of “appropriate content” become increasingly specific to the individual,” Burke said.

Adaptive believes that children typically use their phones for dating, social networking and shopping, presenting a range of issues, from privacy and control over spend, to protection against spam, phishing and inappropriate use.

“For under 18s and other vulnerable users, a service provider can empower parents to control who can contact their children and the types of content they are willing to receive. This can be done through content controls which allow parents to prevent children from accessing inappropriate web and WAP sites, receiving unwanted and unsolicited messages such as phishing attempts, bullying and harassment, pornographic images by MMS; or subscription to unwanted premium rate messaging services,” Burke said.

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