III: Comparison and ranking of parental control tools
Parents, the latest results of the SIP-Bench study about parental
control tools are out!
This study should help you in choosing the right tool via a searchable
database to support you in your digital parenting. You can also find tips and
advice on the website on how to use the tools effectively and ethically.
Results of SIP Bench III reveal that parental control tools are slightly
improving but filtering user-generated content remains a challenge. While most
of the tools tested enable parents to block access to harmful websites, they
are less efficient at filtering web 2.0 content (such as social networking
sites or blogs). User-generated content (mainly Facebook and YouTube)
represents a real challenge both for parents and software producers as
traditional filtering techniques fail to achieve good results. In the meantime,
increasing number of children and teenagers use social media in their everyday
The most common issue regarding security is bypassing the filters via
Google Translate and Google Cache. Security is also a weak point of mobile
devices. Although there are more parental control tools for the mobile devices,
they still fail to filter properly and are very easy to by-pass. All tested
tools achieve better results when filtering English language content.
Besides checking for the features and score of a tool, as a parent, we
encourage you to read the recommendations on how to integrate the use of
parental control tools in your parenting.
Recommendations for parents: http://sipbench.eu/phase6.cfm/secid.7
For more information about the latest results of the SIP-Bench report here
Make use of parental control tools
At the beginning
of July, the SIP-Bench II project
, of which COFACE is a board member, published
its 4th cycle report on the benchmarking of parental control tools.
tools are key for parents and their digital parenting exercise. They can help
keeping children safe online, promote a healthy life balance by restraining
time spend on the computer and other devices and encourage an active dialogue
between parents and children regarding their online activities and their use of
ICTs in general.
The report found
that little progress has been made since the last report regarding parental
control tools for both computers and game consoles. The features and
functionalities of the tools stays the same with changes made to the usability,
layout and design of the tools to make them more (or less) user friendly.
"revolution" right now concerns mobile phones where parental control
tools are still in the early development stages.
tools have three main features: web content filtering
, blocking usage and
monitoring. As regards web content filtering,
the effectiveness is best with adult content but filters struggle a lot when it
comes to web 2.0 (social networks for instance) or blogs. Some tools score so
low on web filtering that they nearly filter pages randomly.
With the blocking function
, most tools can
disable or limit the use of applications or the device as a whole. Still, there
remain many ways to bypass blocking so parents need to beware that blocking is
far from being sufficient.
Finally, as regards monitoring
, most tools offer the possibility to monitor activities
of children but the clarity of the reports and the customisation of the reports
need further improvements. It is important for parents to cautiously select
what they wish to monitor to avoid becoming a "big brother" for their
child and especially for their teenager.
global ranking list of parental control tools shows that free tools can be just
as effective as commercial tools, which can reassure parents with a limited
all parents to make use of parental control tools, especially in order to
establish a dialogue with their children about responsible use of the internet
Published on 03 Sep 2012
Updated on 04 Dec 2013