Telecom regulator Ofcom has published a guide for parents that explains how to use parental controls on mobile phones and how to report inappropriate content. It comes as the regulator publishes a survey suggesting that less than 10% of children aged 7-16 use a mobile phone to go online. Although 44% of children with mobiles have a device that's capable of browsing the internet, only 12% of them actually uses the mobile phone to go online - and with almost three-quarters of 7 to 16-year-olds having a mobile, that's just 9% of all children in the UK. (These figures are based on responses from parents and carers, not from the children themselves).
Ofcom explains that all UK mobile phone providers can restrict online content to items suitable for under 18s if this is requested. Some set this as a default option while others will activate it on request. Ofcom also warns that Bluetooth and MMS can be used without restriction, as can some social networking sites and online chatrooms. [PDF guide; PDF research]