Gaming Strategy
Featured Stories
Legal News Financial News Casino Opening and Remodeling News Gaming Industry Executives Author Home Author Archives Search Articles Subscribe
Newsletter Signup
Stay informed with the
NEW Casino City Times newsletter!
Recent Articles
Kevin Smith

New Vodafone Policy Protects Mobile Minors from Adult Content

16 July 2004

Vodafone has announced new requirements making it tougher for minors to access gambling and adult-themed content through mobile phones. Only customers who pre-register with proof of identity can access mobile content containing pornography, violence, gambling, online dating and other adult material. The company claims to be the first mobile carrier in the world to enact such a system. Children's charities throughout Europe are already praising the system, which was rolled out this week.

"If we didn't take action, it was inevitable minors would be exposed to adult services."
- Kay Kavanagh

The move to implement restrictions was part of an ongoing process. Vodafone teamed up with the Children's Charities' Commission on Internet Safety in the United Kingdom in January to publish a code of practice designed to protect children and minors from adult content through wireless devices.

"The report was published more than six months ago and our goal back then was to have barring and filtering measures in place by the end of the year," Vodafone's Kay Kavanagh explained "It took us a while to come up with and test an effective system, but we were able to bring this to market before our stated goal. We hope that other carriers will follow our lead and take similar measures to block this kind of content from minors."

John Carr of the Children's Charities' Commission on Internet Safety said he was extremely pleased to have a major carrier take the lead on the issue.

"This is huge," Carr said. "We are delighted. It's a world first, and Vodafone deserves a big round of applause."

He added that other leading European mobile operators have contacted him about their plans to introduce similar systems.

Kavanagh said Vodafone wanted to go beyond just making a good gesture.

"We didn't want to institute something that essentially just gave lip service to this issue," she said. "Our whole goal during this process was to figure out the best way to really block minors from accessing these kinds of sites."

With that in mind, Vodafone went with an opt-in system, assuming that many parents and guardians could struggle with the opt-out process.

"We had to have something that was as clear and concise as possible," Kavanagh said. "You take a chance that some of your users won't be able to opt out because they just don't understand what needs to be done through their phone."

Users who want access to adult material must first get approved by providing a valid ID at a Vodafone retail or service location.

The system is branded as Vodafone's "Content Control" and has become the default option on all Vodafone phones.

Kavanagh said wireless gambling, particularly sports betting, has risen in popularity over the last two years as mobile devices have become more sophisticated.

Punters who have an account with certain online sports books can access the sites through their phones and bet on the games right from the seat of the stadium or from their local pubs.

Kavanagh said she was unaware of any cases in which minors had run up major debts gambling via mobile phone. Pornography, she said, was more of a concern, but Vodafone found it necessary to block all adult-related material from minors to prevent future problems.

"If we didn't take action," she said, "it was inevitable minors would be exposed to adult services."

New Vodafone Policy Protects Mobile Minors from Adult Content is republished from
Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith