Parental control: what it is and how it works

HeyOn November 21, the Agcom resolution came into force, which establishes a series of restrictions on the access of minors to the internet. An initiative aimed at protecting them from cyber threats. Let’s find out what it is

The announced crackdown on smartphone use by children under 18 years of age has arrived In fact, from November 21, the provisions of the resolution by which Agcom (the Communications Authority) introduced the so-called “Parental control”, the filtering of content marked as inappropriate for minors, with subsequent automatic blocking of the content itself.

The resolution establishes an obligation for internet service providers, or companies that provide access to the internet, to establish the automatic lock on SIM cards registered to minors (by law it is possible to buy and register a SIM card from the age of 15). From smartphones and tablets that work with these SIM cards, it will therefore not be possible to access a range of content – mainly those that contain elements reminiscent of pornography, violence, weapons, drugs – in order to protect minors from the dangers of the web .

In other offers, parental control should be available as activated by the user, and the subjects who can perform the functions of deactivation, reactivation and configuration are the adults who own the contract and those who exercise parental authority over the minor. The only way to disable the block is to enter a specific one secret codewhich is communicated to an adult who has signed the contract concerning the supply.

An initiative to protect “digital natives”

This is an initiative that, obviously, is not enough to prevent children and young people from encountering content that is not suitable for them, but it is still a step forward in trying to regulate the use of the Internet in a generation of “digital natives” who they start using smartphones earlier. According to his researchInternet Observatory@MinoriAt the age of 12-13, eight out of ten children regularly surf the Internet, and in 57% of cases they do so without parental control.

The topic is also dedicated to Global Threat AssessmentThe WeProtect Global Alliance’s report dedicated to the threats facing children online and its 2023 edition confirmed that the online sexual exploitation and abuse of children continue to grow worldwide, both in scope and manner. The volume of child pornography reports analyzed by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC) has increased by 87% from 2019and Disrupting Harm research revealed that in some countries up to 20% of children have been sexually exploited and abused in the past year.

The new technology emerging issues such as genetic artificial intelligence and augmented reality raise new questions, increasing threats to children’s online safety. Hence the suppression given by the surety.

Sites blocked by Parental control

The Communications Authority’s crackdown is on websites that promote the sale of weapons and gambling, those that incite violence, racism, eating disorders or the use of alcohol and drugs. Websites and tutorials that explain how to hide your online activity and those that promote online anonymity may also be blocked on devices with SIMs attributed to minors. Here it iscomplete list from those excluded:

  • Adult content: websites intended for adults. websites that display pornographic nudity, sexual accessories, sexually oriented activities. websites that recommend the purchase of such goods and services.
  • Gambling/betting: websites that provide information or promote/support gambling and/or betting.
  • Arms: Websites that provide information, promote or support the sale of weapons and related items.
  • Violence: websites that depict or promote violence or personal injury, including self-exposure, suicide, or that display scenes of gratuitous, persistent or brutal violence.
  • Hate and discrimination: websites that promote/support hatred/intolerance towards individuals or groups.
  • Promoting practices that can harm your health in light of integrative medical knowledge: websites promoting/supporting anorexia/bulimia, drug use, alcohol, tobacco.
  • Anonymizer: Sites that provide tools to make online activity untraceable.
  • Seven: Sites that promote/offer assistance in influencing real events through the use of spells, curses, magical powers or supernatural beings.

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