Innovative software from a UK firm is helping to protect youngsters when accessing the internet on mobile devices in public with its ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’.
The Chester-based Registered Digital Institute (RDI) has launched what it claims is the world’s first accreditation scheme for verifying whether a public Wi-Fi service meets a minimum level of filtering.
It prevents children from viewing inappropriate material when logged into public Wi-Fi in cafes, hotels, restaurants and shops in the UK.
Tesco, Starbucks and Chester Cathedral have already signed up to the scheme, which is supported by the NSPCC.
RDI director Mike Davies said: 'The RDI is looking forward to supporting a safer environment for children and young people as the level of internet browsing and availability of services continues to increase.'
In 2013, Prime Minister David Cameron announced that an agreement was in place with the UK’s main Wi-Fi providers to commit to applying a level of filtering across all of their standard public Wi-Fi services, which are accessed by young people.
Mr Cameron stressed the need to develop an industry-recognised, trusted symbol, which businesses could display on their doors to show customers that their public Wi-Fi is properly filtered.
RDI were approached to work with the government, the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and the main Wi-Fi providers, to develop the UK-wide ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ scheme.
Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: 'The ‘Friendly Wi-Fi’ logo will make clear to parents which cafes, restaurants and other businesses have internet access that is safe for their children to use. It will help these firms ensure that families feel comfortable and make it clear to parents they are choosing a safe online environment.'
Claire Lilley, head of child online safety at NSPCC, said: 'Children often go online when they are out and about and parents need to know that using a public WIFI network won’t expose them to pornography. So it’s very reassuring for parents to know that when they see the ‘Friendly WIFI' logo they can allow their children to go online in safety.'