Kitemark Child Safety Online Launched

Press release - 3 April 2008

BSI Product Services will today announce the launch of the world’s first internet safety Kitemark to help parents protect children from inappropriate online content.

The new Kitemark for Child Safety Online and the standard on which it is based, known as “Internet safety – Access control systems for the protection of children online”, will be launched today by the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith to an audience of key representatives from the UK’s software and ISP industries.

The standard was developed by BSI British Standards on behalf of the Home Office and Ofcom following extensive consultation with software manufacturers and ISPs.

The standard requires internet filtering software to be easy to install, easy to use and effective in blocking inappropriate online content such as pornography, violence and racism.

Only software which passes a series of rigorous tests will be awarded the Child Safety Online Kitemark backed by the Home Office. Testing will start shortly and products featuring the Kitemark are anticipated later in the year. Parents will then, for the first time, be able to choose products that have been approved and should keep their children safer while online.

The launch of the Kitemark has been welcomed by industry leaders including AOL, Microsoft and BT; all of whom plan to submit products for BSI Kitemark certification in due course.

Announcing the publication of the standard, Ian Harper of BSI Product Services commented: “The Kitemark scheme allows manufacturers to prove their products are effective and reassure consumers that there are products available to help keep their children safer while online.”

Although 80% of children now access the internet in the home, research from Ofcom suggests that fewer than half of parents currently use internet safety software to help protect their children.

Stewart Purvis, Content & Standards Partner, Ofcom, said: “The internet can be an amazing source of information and entertainment for children. However, potentially harmful content is out there and Ofcom’s research shows that parents often feel they do not have the tools to help protect their children online. The new standard and Kitemark scheme set a challenge to manufacturers to ensure that their products are effective and easy to use. We hope software companies and ISPs will rise to this challenge.”

About the Kitemark®
The Kitemark is one of the most respected product quality marks in the world, demonstrating that a wide range of products from lighting to fire extinguishers conform to standards, ensuring that vital safety and performance requirements are met.

The word Kitemark and the Kitemark logo are registered trade marks of BSI. A combination of a quality based system, such as BS EN ISO 9001 or a similar quality system, with advanced product/service testing provide the basis for a Kitemark scheme offering trust, integrity and quality.