Kitemark for Child Safety Online Software

The Kitemark for Child Safety Online has been developed through a collaboration between BSI -  a leading certification body -, the Home Office, Ofcom and representatives from ISPs and application developers. 

Kitemark safeguarding Children Online
The Kitemark for Child Safety Online has been developed through a collaboration between BSI - the UK's National Standards Body -, the Home Office, Ofcom and representatives from ISPs and application developers. 

What the scheme covers:
The scheme covers internet access control products, services, tools or other systems. 

  • Easy installation, configuration and use
  • Effective filtering
  • Essential features
  • Easy updating of software
  • Easy to understand instructions
  • Consumer communications and support

Kitemark Benefits for Software Developers

  • Proof that your product is of Kitemark quality
  • Increased consumer confidence in your product
  • Demonstration of your commitment to quality and child safety
  • Enhancement of brand image
  • License to display the Kitemark logo on filtering products
  • Competitive advantage through consumer choice of Kitemark products
  • Access to wider markets and tenders

Background information
Internet access and usage across the population has grown. At the same time the concept of the web as a vast encyclopaedia has changed as internet applications have become more sophisticated and interactive. Although this development is a positive one, users leading busy lives can struggle to keep up with the rate of change. In particular, there is concern that vulnerable members of society, such as children, do not always receive the assistance they need to control the content they access over the internet.

Since the advent of the web this has been a concern. Filters were developed to block them but parents remain concerned about the instant messaging, email and peer-to-peer file sharing.

The Home Office Task Force on Child Protection on the Internet, a partnership between government, industry, law enforcement agencies and children's charities aims to make the UK the best and safest place in the world for children to use the internet and help protect children the world over from abuse fuelled by criminal misuse of new technologies.

The Internet Watch Foundation was launched in September 1996 to combat the problem of illegal material on the internet, with particular reference to child pornography. It is an independent organisation set up to implement proposals jointly agreed by the Government and police and two major UK organisations representing internet service providers - ISPA and LINX.

The Home Office Hi Tech Crime Team and Ofcom sponsored the development of a standard and Kitemark scheme for internet service providers and software products with the objective of protecting children from undesirable features of internet technology.

The project was a collaboration involving BSI as the UK's National Standards Body, the Home Office, Ofcom and representatives of ISPs and application developers to raise the standard of filtering, monitoring and blocking applications for the UK market .

What is Kitemark certification?
This is a certification scheme for internet website filtering software produced by software manufacturers. These products can be bought as stand alone products from computer stores or come as part of an operating system or ISP package. Either way, the software’s performance, reliability and user-friendliness are tested to the scheme's criteria.

As a filtering software manufacturer - why do I need a Kitemark?
Quite simply to protect your business.  In future organisations may well specify Kitemark to compete in tenders for projects or funding.  With parents fears rising over the content of websites, the need for reassurance that a product  will offer the protection it claims will be more and more important.  Kitemark certification will give your customers reassurance.

BSI will test for their ability to block the following categories of websites:

  • Adult (sexually explicit) content
  • Violence (including weapons and bombs)
  • Racist and hate material
  • Illegal drug taking and the promotion of illegal drug use
  • Criminal skills/activity
  • Gambling

Laboratory testing will also check that the product or service:

  • Does not unduly block access to suitable internet content
  • Configuration settings are adequately protected so that the product cannot be disabled
  • Security settings are not compromised by any tools provided by the hardware, operating system or browser
  • Regain control procedure is effective should the security system fail