Vodafone Ireland has extended the reach of its smartphone parental control app Safety Net to seven markets.
Vodafone Ireland first partnered with anti-bullying expert Stephen Minton of the School of Education in Trinity College Dublin and Irish tech consultancy Techbridge to create the software on Symbian devices for customers in 2009.
The Irish-developed software has since expanded to non-Vodafone customers and moved to the Android platform. It will now expand to the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Egypt.
It allows parents to block phone numbers to preventing bullies from contacting children. Parents can also set up a list of numbers from trusted contacts.
Parents can block access to the web, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth completely or on a time managed basis and can remove the camera function. They can also access a secure folder to check blocked messages and calls, preventing children from seeing them.
“Cyber bullying is an issue which researchers, educators and parents alike have become increasingly aware of over the last few years, and evidence points to bullying and harassment via mobile telephones being one of its most frequent forms,” said Minton.
“It is important to recognise that mobile telephone technology did not create the problem of bullying; however, along with parents, school communities and society at large, mobile telephone operators can play their part in addressing the problem.
“Towards this end, Safety Net is an excellent, extremely well thought-out and user-friendly application, which is likely to be of real help to young people and their parents who are concerned with the safe use of mobile telephones,” he said.
Vodafone Safety Net is available for free through the Android Market.