Telstra launches a smart way to keep kids safe on their mobiles
With young Australians tipped to adopt smartphones in record number this Christmas, parents will be able to better protect them from cyber risks such as access to inappropriate mobile content and unwanted calls with the launch today of Smart Controls® from Telstra.
Smart Controls lets parents tailor a mobile phone service to the needs and maturity of their children by allowing them to set time-of-day limits on calls and mobile web use, block unwanted callers, choose the mobile web content that can be accessed and restrict outgoing calls to specific contacts such as Mum or Dad.
Telstra’s Director of Corporate Security, Darren Kane, said while parental control software was broadly available for internet services in the home, Smart Controls was one of the first products to help protect Australian kids on their phones.
“Christmas is a time when many Aussie parents set their kids up with a phone. For parents mobiles provide an easy way to keep in touch when their children are out and about, and, for kids they can mean greater independence. But along with many benefits there can be some risks – especially for the increasing number of young people adopting internet-connected smartphones,” Darren said.
“Using Smart Controls, parents can limit their child’s online access during school hours if they’re concerned their child may be overusing social networks or accessing the web unsupervised. Or if they’re browsing the web when they should be sleeping, they can switch off mobile internet access in the evening,” Darren said.
Smart Controls is managed through an easy-to-use web portal where parents can:
- Block unwanted calls or callers – Manage a list of numbers kids can call, or be called by on their phone.
- Set up a safe list of numbers and websites – Choose numbers and websites which can always be accessed, even when other calls or web content categories are restricted.
- Manage the time kids can spend online and making calls – Place time-of-day limits on web browsing and phone calls.
- Choose the mobile web content which can be accessed – In a first for an Australian telco, Smart Controls allows parents to select the categories of content they’d like their kids to access (for instance educational websites) or not to access (such as adult or gambling websites). Alternatively, Smart Controls will allow parents to nominate specific web sites that can be accessed (e.g. Wikipedia.org, abc.net.au/abcforkids) while prohibiting access to all others.
“Smart Controls is designed to complement regular parental involvement in kids’ use of digital technology and can keep them out of trouble while they’re learning to use the internet. It should make a welcome addition to parents’ cyber-safety toolkit,” Darren added.
Telstra’s tips to protect kids in the online world:
- Understand the sites and technology your kids use and know who they're talking to online.
- Create a list of online 'rules' with the family e.g. time limits, list of OK sites to visit.
- Educate your kids so they know not to give out personal details online without parental knowledge.
- Make sure your kids know what to do and where to go if they encounter cyber-bullying.
- Regularly sit with your children when they are using the internet. Let them know you are interested and keen to understand their online activity.
- Encourage your kids to keep online friendships online, and to never agree to meet their ‘online’ friends without parental supervision.
- Reinforce positive behaviour and values, such as being respectful of others.
- Don't ignore new technologies – kids and teens will use them, if not at home then at their friends’ houses, on their mobiles or at school. Ask your child to give you a lesson on sites or internet gadgets you may not be familiar with.
Smart Controls costs $2.95 per month per service and can be applied to any Telstra mobile services on a customer’s account. Smart Controls can also be applied to Telstra mobile services (including Pre-Paid) that are not on a customer’s account where that mobile user agrees. Parents/guardians can visit www.telstra.com/smartcontrols to find out more.