Children’s Minister Tracey Martin has raised the important issue of how to keep children safe from online pornography. Spark shares the Minister’s view that this is a topic that deserves focus and consideration and urges the Minister to involve New Zealand internet and mobile service providers in the debate and conversation.
Jolie Hodson, Customer Director for Spark says, “Our customers tell us that they want the ability to create safe environments for their children online, just as they create safe environments in their homes. Our ambition is to support families by creating easy, practical solutions that stop children stumbling across content they didn’t intend to access – and allow parents to manage internet access in their home in a way that prevents older children from seeking out content that they deem inappropriate.
“We believe it’s important to put the right tools into the hands of families to help them make decisions on what content to allow into their homes. We don’t want to take on a role in policing the internet.”
While Spark believes there is a place for a broader, national conversation around these issues, fortunately, some solutions already exist today. Hodson says, “These tools don’t replace good communication within families, but parents who are worried about what their children get up to online can take steps today to manage what content is readily accessible over their home broadband connection.”
Spark recently launched an internet filtering service called Net Shield, which is designed to protect the home from harmful online content. Net Shield automatically filters your internet against inappropriate content such as abusive content, illegal activity and pornography and also ensures Safe Search is turned on. Additional categories such as alcohol and tobacco, weapons, gambling, chat and forums can also be blocked by parents who want more control. It’s a simple way to keep everyone safe online.
Net Shield Basic is free for all Spark broadband customers. And to control what you filter in more detail, customers can choose to pay for the Net Shield Premium service. Spark broadband customers can activate Net Shield in MySpark online.
Spark also offers a Spark Security Suite run by McAfee free to all Spark broadband customers. This includes parental controls functionality, which helps filter offensive content, pictures and websites on their computers. The controls allow you to restrict access to content that may be harmful to children. There are also tools to limit kids' time online.
Finally, Spark participates in the Internal Affairs Digital Child Exploitation Filtering System (DCEFS), which blocks websites that host child sexual abuse images and clear instances of phishing. In both of these cases we act due to the substantial harm caused by such activities.
Spark will continue to participate in and contribute to the conversation with government and industry on this important topic.
Notes to editor: