Roughly one in four Greek parents (24 percent) uses parental control software to block, filter or otherwise monitor the websites their children visit on the Internet, according to the Greek Safer Internet centre. This is close to the European Union average, which ranges from a low 9 percent of parental control in Romania to 54 percent in the United Kingdom.
Apart from child filters and other forms of control, 70 percent of parents responding to the survey EUKidsOnline said that they talked to their children about their activities on the Internet and 58 percent claimed that they stayed close to their children when these used the Internet.
An assessment of 26 popular parental control filters available for PCs, three for game consoles and two for mobile phones by the programme SIP-BENCH funded by the EU Saferinternet programme found that 84 percent allowed parents to block access to specific sites but were less effective in filtering Web 2.0 content, such as social networking sites or blogs.
The study also showed that the filters were appropriate for filtering web content for adults but there remained a 20 percent possibility that websites unsuitable for children would slip through the filter, including sites that encouraged young people to self-harm through anorexia, suicide or self-mutilation. At the same time, they blocked sites with content specifically designed for children.
Filters for 'smart' phones and game consoles did less well and not all products on the market were capable of filtering web content even though 31 percent of children in Europe now have access to the Internet via their phones and 26 percent via game consoles.
At the web-page www.yprt.eu/sip parents can find a database of the various parental control tools best suited to their needs.
In the framework of the EU's safer Internet programme, the European Commission will continue to fund the assessment of parental control software every six months until the end of 2012.