SYDNEY: An Australian company claims to have developed the world’s first software suite that enables parents to completely control their children’s mobile phone usage.
The programme lets users filter inappropriate websites, control all SMS and MMS messaging and block expensive premium SMS numbers.
Meg Dennis, co-founder of Leopard Labs, which developed most of the suite, said, the software would help parents keep their children’s phone bills in check, besides ensuring that the kids were not exposed to adult content.
The software would also prevent cyber bullying, Dennis said.
“You can say I only want people in my address book who know my kid to access them [and] anyone outside that address book will get rejected,” Dennis said.
“It’s not about stopping access; it’s about facilitating it and making it a great user experience for kids and parents as well,” she said.
She said the software also had the provision to filter out specific words from SMS messages, but she did not expect that particular feature to be widely used, as it was easy to bypass using abbreviations.
According to a Sydney Morning Herald report, the software also contains an anti-virus programme from Kaspersky Lab to protect against mobile malware and spam, which security companies say is on the rise as mobile phones become more like computers.
“What we see happening is mobiles becoming the device of choice to access the Internet … and the mobile world is very similar to the PC world in that it needs those types of controls available,” Dennis said.
Dennis said the complete software package, called mozone, which Leopard Labs had been working on since 2005, would be available to buy from the company’s website in November.
Though the price has not yet been decided upon, it would be “completely affordable”, she said.
She further said Mozone will presently support only the Symbian platform, used by Nokia, Motorola, Samsung and Panasonic, which represent 72 per cent of the world’s smartphone market, adding that support for other platforms would be added early next year.