FAMILY FRIENDLY FILTER PROGRAM HELPS AUSTRALIAN PARENTS PROTECT KIDS ONLINE 

Sydney, 11 September 2018 – Australian parents wanting to protect their families from unwanted or harmful internet content now have new options under the reinvigorated Family Friendly Filter program operated by Communications Alliance.

Three new filter vendors have now passed the rigorous independent testing needed to be certified as Family Friendly Filter providers.

The newly accredited filters are:

  • Norton Family Premier, from Symantec;
  • Family Zone; and
  • Australian Private Networks (as part of their internet service)

Australians seeking assurance that family members – and children in particular – will not be exposed to inappropriate or potentially harmful internet content can choose a certified filter provider by visiting the Family Friendly Filter page on the Communications Alliance website.

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said the availability of three certified providers was particularly welcome in an environment of increasing concern about the potentially harmful effects of children being exposed to sexually explicit content online.

“We are working closely with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on online safety issues, and the Family Friendly Filter program has an important role to play in offering safe options to parents,” Mr Stanton said.

To qualify as a Family Friendly Filter provider, filter vendors must pass stringent testing performed by respected independent testing house, Enex TestLab, which uses an undesirable content site list provided by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

The testing criteria include effectiveness, ease of use, configurability, availability of support and agreement by the candidate filter company to update the filter as required by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner – for example where the Office determines following a complaint that a specified site is prohibited under Australian law.

The filters come in a number of levels of classification, enabling families to choose a level of filtering that is suitable to the age of children in the family.

Filters are only one tool that can be used to encourage safe internet access. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner provides a range of information, tools and educational material for parents and schools. The Office also offers help with and accepts complaints regarding cyber bullying and offensive and illegal content.

In addition, many Australian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have tools and information available to parents concerned about online safety issues.

Some examples include:

ProviderSupport
FOXTEL

Setting up parental controls for Foxtel Broadband

https://www.foxtel.com.au/support/broadband/wifi-modem/parental-controls.html

iiNet

Overview: https://www.iinet.net.au/about/legal/filtering/ 

Provides specific lesson plans targeted at distinct age groups, available on iiNet's website: 

https://www.iinet.net.au/about/community/learn/cyber-safety/

Optus

Information for Optus customers on cybersafety and cybersecurity is available at: http://www.optus.com.au/internetsecurity  

In addition, Optus runs two separate cybersafety programs in schools: Digital Thumbprint and Kids Helpline @ School. Both of these programs are certified by the eSafety Commissioner’s office, and details can be found at: 

https://kidshelpline.com.au/schools/sessions-optus-digital-thumbprint and 

https://kidshelpline.com.au/schools/kids-helpline-school 

Telstra

Various resources for children and young people are available on Telstra's website, and they have added a new section on personal mobile safety: 

https://www.telstra.com.au/consumer-advice/cyber-safety 

Telstra’s Mobile Protect helps customers set parental controls and restrict usage on mobile devices on their post-paid account: 

https://www.telstra.com.au/support/category/mobiles-tablets/user-guides-help/telstra-mobile-protect 

Telstra’s Broadband Protect helps protect devices connected to Telstra’s home broadband service from websites hosting known malicious content, scams or viruses by blocking those websites at the Telstra network: 

https://www.telstra.com.au/broadband/extras/broadbandprotect 

Through Telstra Foundations partners, PROJECT ROCKET and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Telstra helps connect young people and library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of technology. 

This includes through eSmart libraries with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, launched in 2012, which will better equip 1,500 public libraries across the country and support library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of technology. This $8 million, multi-year partnership is one of the most significant community cyber-safety programs ever undertaken in Australia: 

https://www.esmart.org.au/esmart-libraries/  

TPG

General information about online safety: 

https://www.tpg.com.au/about/online_safety.php

Vodafone

http://www.vodafone.com.au/about/sustainability/cyber-safety 

http://www.vodafone.com.au/about/sustainability/digital-parenting 

http://www.vodafone.com.au/about/sustainability/cyber-bullying 


ABOUT COMMUNICATIONS ALLIANCE
Communications Alliance is the primary telecommunications industry body  in Australia. Its membership is drawn from a wide cross-section of the  communications industry, including carriers, carriage and internet  service providers, content providers, search engines, equipment vendors, IT companies, consultants and business groups.

Its vision is to  provide a unified voice for the telecommunications industry and to lead  it into the next generation of converging networks, technologies and  services. The prime mission of Communications Alliance is to promote the growth of the Australian communications industry and the protection of  consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. For more details about  Communications Alliance, see www.commsalliance.com.au.

Media information contact:
Sefiani
Kurt Graham kgraham@sefiani.com.au
0431 478 558