Friendly WiFi is the world’s first accreditation scheme designed to verify whether a business’ public Wi-Fi service meets a minimum level of filtering to block out access to pornographic and child abuse websites. ‘Friendly WiFi’ aims to keep children and young people safe from viewing inappropriate material when logged into public Wi-Fi offered in cafes, shops, restaurants etc across the UK.
RDI Director Mike Davies said; “The creation of the ‘Friendly WiFi’ scheme follows a number of collaborative discussions about what can be done to improve child safety online. RDI has worked with the Government and industry to develop such a scheme, carrying a friendly logo to help UK businesses promote the fact that their Wi-Fi service is filtered and that ‘Friendly WiFi’ sites can be easily identified and located throughout the UK. The RDI is looking forward to supporting a safer environment for children and young people as the level of internet browsing and availability of services continues to increase.”
So what is 'Friendly WiFi'? Mike explains:
"For the past 12 months the Registered Digital Institute (RDI) has worked alongside The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to design and launch a scheme that is the first in the world to use a minimum standard specification of filtering and to regulate public Wi-Fi services offered by businesses in the UK. This initiative is supported by Government and the UK’s main Wi-Fi providers."
"‘Friendly WiFi’ has been created to ensure that businesses who offer their customers the use of their public Wi-Fi services and who wish to become a ‘Friendly WiFi’ venue, can have their Wi-Fi services verified by an independent body to confirm that the correct filters are in place to block anyone from accessing inappropriate material."
Where should people look out for the ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo?
"The ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo can be found on the high street, in cafes, shops, restaurants, hotels and public transport. Wherever you see the ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo, parents and children can be assured that the public Wi-Fi offered at that particular venue has reached an industry recognised standard level of filtering and that access to pornography and child abuse websites, videos and images are blocked."
Why is it important for public Wi-Fi to be filtered?
"If filters are not placed on public Wi-Fi services, children and young people are at risk of viewing and accessing inappropriate material. This includes pornographic and child abuse imagery, websites and videos."
Claire Lilley, Head of Child Online Safety at NSPCC, has also given the scheme her backing; “Children often go online when they are out and about and parents need to know that using a public Wi-Fi network won’t expose them to pornography. So it’s very reassuring for parents to know that when they see the ‘Friendly WiFi’ logo they can allow their children to go online in safety. However, as with any filtering measures it’s vital not to be complacent and we urge parents to talk to their children about what they get up to online and what to do if they have any concerns.”
Many high street names have become Friendly WiFi accredited including Tesco, Samsung and Starbucks. These WiFi venues can be identified by the Friendly WiFi logo. The logo will reassure consumers that the most worrying internet content for children, including pornography, will have been placed behind filters and so unavailable to users.
More information can be found at the Friendly WiFi website.