Mobile operator 3 has launched what it claims is Europe’s first ever anti-bullying mobile phone application, which it developed in partnership with Irish software company Sentry Wireless.
The ‘KidSafe’ application will allow parents to control and manage how and when their children use their mobile phones, so both child and phone are protected from mobile bullying.
KidSafe-compatible 3 mobiles will let parents control a list of allowable numbers that the phone can call and text, prevent and filter anonymous SMS and voice calls, deny access to inappropriate services and allow the mobile to be locked during school hours or after midnight.
“This was a direct response by our network to the Government’s call to operators to find a swift solution to this growing problem,” said 3 chief executive, Robert Finnegan
“Child safety is a constant priority for 3, and that is why we are the first network in Ireland to bring this high level of child protection to our customers.
“3 is taking the lead on this issue, and is committed to continuing our work on child-safety regulation within the mobile telecoms industry.”
The anti-bullying mobile phone application was officially launched at the 3 Store on Grafton Street today, with Minister of State for Youth and Children, Barry Andrews TD.
“There is a growing awareness surrounding the issue of cyberbullying, and I must commend 3 for rolling out the KidSafe product, which will hopefully bring a new layer of security to children who use a mobile phone,” Minister Andrews said.
“The product will also afford parents greater comfort in the knowledge that measures are being put in place to create better protection for their children,” he added.
Irish firm Sentry Wireless is the software-development company behind the KidSafe application.
Commenting on their partnership with 3, Sentry Wireless’ chief executive, Matt Norton, said: “KidSafe provides parents with an opportunity to teach their children how to use their mobile phone responsibly.
“We have been refining the product over the past 18 months, and have worked closely with 3 to make KidSafe available to parents in Ireland as soon as possible.”
KidSafe is available on all 3-compatible handsets for a once-off price. The company said there are no ongoing charges, and the price is separate to the cost of a handset.
The application will be available in 3 Store Grafton Street and 3 Store Henry Street for a special introductory offer of €30 until 31 January 2009. KidSafe will be made available to customers in other 3 Stores throughout the country in 2009.
By John Kennedy