Mobile industry outlines anti-bullying guidelines

12 Nov 2008

The mobile industry has put in place new measures to help parents combat the rising tide of bullying via mobile devices.

The IBEC group Irish Cellular Industry (ICIA) reaffirmed its commitment to addressing the problem of bullying via mobile phones to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

Its director Tommy McCabe outlined to the committee the following examples of measures, put in place by industry, to deal with the issue: the ability to block certain numbers; dual and access controls to help parents monitor phone usage; a dedicated spam reporting line; customer care and specific guidance on the issue; advice and awareness campaigns; and the easy means of changing mobile numbers

Future Human

“The mobile industry recognises bullying as a serious issue, and has put in place a range of measures to combat bullying via mobile phones,” McCabe explained.

“All operators already offer many options, free of charge to their customers, to assist in combating bullying. The operators continue to work with technical experts worldwide to find ever better ways of addressing the problem.”

McCabe said the ICIA is currently working on a revised publication of its Parents’ Guide to Mobile Phones, which will be launched shortly.

This guide is designed to inform parents about what mobile phones can do and what kind of services are available. It will enable them to better decide what services they wish their children to have access to on their mobile.

“Mobile operators have worked on numerous initiatives in order to educate and better protect consumers. These include multimedia messaging service (MMS) filtering; the ICIA Code of Practice; the Stop Command to halt premium rate subscription services; the red card/yellow card warning system for premium rate service providers; and numerous awareness campaigns, such as the Make IT Secure campaign and Cyber Bullying Booklet.

“While mobile operators recognise their responsibilities in combating the problem of bullying via mobile phones, bullying as a behaviour needs to be addressed by society as a whole,” McCabe concluded.

By John Kennedy

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years