AgeBlock app launched to ensure age restrictions for online content

As we stay at home during the lockdown parents are concerned about children accessing pornography and other harmful online materials via their smartphones.
Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor

It is hard for parents to ensure that their children are not accessing sites they should not have access to as we settle into life under lockdown. As we go through COVID-19 social distancing for weeks, how do we ensure that the extra time our kids are spending online is safe?

London, UK-based age verification technology provider AVSecurehas recently launched its AgeBlock app as a tool to meet parental demands for a more sophisticated online age restriction technology.

The AgeBlock app helps parents to better protect their children online by limiting access to over four million pornographic and adult-oriented websites and apps.

AgeBlock comes amidst on-going confusion surrounding online harms and age restriction of content on social media.

The introduction of a new Online Harms Bill in the UK by the government seeks to impose a "duty of care" on tech giants and social media companies.

The statutory corporation in the UK, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) is set to be given greater powers to challenge firms who do not take responsibility for tackling harmful content.

The AgeBlock app is designed to give parents greater control over what their children are able to see and do when accessing the internet or using age-restricted apps on their smartphones and other devices.

By pairing devices using a QR code or six-digit key, the app gives parents the power to remotely block over four million pornographic websites on their children's devices from their own smartphone.

They can also restrict over 30 social networks and dating sites including Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, YouTube, and TikTok.

Parents can configure devices so that they get a greater level of control when protecting their children from harmful content online.

They can set their preferred level of protection on up to 25 additional devices -- by controlling which sites and apps can and can't be accessed individually, or by blocking all age-restricted sites.

They receive notifications if their child tries to bypass the app in any way. The app is non-intrusive and does not allow remote monitoring of children's activity on their devices, thereby respecting the child's legal rights to privacy.

This type of app is long overdue. In research commissioned by the British Board of Film Classification, almost half (47%) of children surveyed between the ages of 11 and 17 agreed that they actively wanted to be locked out of websites that are intended for adults only.

Children were 2.5 times more likely to want age restriction controls placed upon adult websites than to not want them.

Steve Winyard, creator of AgeBlock said that he hopes that: "AgeBlock goes some way in addressing the very real and ongoing parental concerns around children's unrestricted access to explicit pornographic material and adult-oriented apps."

The AgeBlock app is free for the first month and costs $4.99 per device per year in the USA (£3.99 in the UK and €3.99 in EU zones).

Parents want to be able to keep their kids safe when they are using their phones. Concerns around children's unrestricted access to explicit pornographic material and adult-oriented apps are very real for many parents.

This 'big button' solution can give parents the peace of mind they need and give them one less concern in these troubling times.

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