Published: 5th February 2013

ParentPort helps parents keep children safe online

The online media complaints portal – ParentPort – has today launched a one-stop shop for parents to help them keep children safe when online, watching films and playing video games.

Despite a large volume of useful tips and online safety advice already being available online, this information is often fragmented and difficult to find.

ParentPort has brought this information together and organised it into a number of easily accessible top tip categories to help parents learn more about setting up online controls, improving mobile safety and keeping children safe on social networking sites.

Director of Ofcom’s Content and Consumer Group, Claudio Pollack, said: “Children are embracing more technology – and at a younger age – than ever before. Our research demonstrates that almost half of parents admit that their children know more about the internet than they do. This increases to more than two thirds of parents with teenagers under 161.

“This means that keeping children safe can be a challenge particularly if parents don’t know where to go for help and advice. ParentPort has launched a new information portal which aims to empower parents to take informed steps to protect their children in the way they feel is most appropriate.”

Social networking
Children aged 8-11 estimate that they have not met around one in eight (12%) of their social network friends in person (an average of 11 people per child) while 12-15s say they have not met around one in four (25%) - an average of 72 people per child1. ParentPort provides tips on how parents can help protect their children from the risks that this can present.

Parental controls
One in ten (10%) parents say they do not have parental controls installed on the computer or laptop used by their child either because they don’t know how to do this, or are not aware that it is possible, rising to 21%-25% for fixed/mobile games consoles and 35% for mobile phones1.

ParentPort provides a number of top tips on parental controls, including a new guide to ‘Protecting your child in the digital world’.

Mobile safety
Children’s access to the internet is not restricted to PCs or laptops. Since 2011, there has been a 50% rise in 12-15 year olds owning smartphone devices1. Almost two-thirds (62%) of this age group now has one – up from 41% the previous year. This is significantly higher than the UK average for adults of 50%2.

They can also use them to take pictures and videos and post them online within seconds, maybe before they’ve even thought through the consequences. ParentPort provides a number of top tips on how children can stay safe when accessing the internet using a mobile.

About ParentPort
ParentPort was set up in October 2011 to make it easier for parents to complain about material they see or hear across the media, communications and retail industries.

It was jointly developed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), the BBC Trust, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and the Video Standards Council (VSC)/Pan-European Game Information (PEGI).

Notes to Editors

  1. Forty-six per cent of parents whose children use the internet at home agree with the statement ‘My child knows more about the internet than I do’, rising to 67% of parents of 12-15 year olds who use the internet at home. Source: Ofcom’s Children and parents: media use and attitudes report 2012
  2. Source: Ofcom Technology Tracker Wave 3 2012.
  3. The ParentPort website was created in response to Reg Bailey’s Independent Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, which recommended that regulators should work together to create a single website to act as an interface between themselves and parents.
  4. ParentPort provides straightforward information on what parents can do if they feel they have seen or heard something inappropriate for their children. The site makes the process of making a complaint easier by directing parents to the right media regulator for their specific area of concern.
  5. ParentPort was developed in collaboration with seven UK media regulators. These are the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), the BBC Trust, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and the Video Standards Council (VSC)/Pan-European Game Information (PEGI).

Advertising Standards Authority
The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is the UK’s independent regulator of advertising across all media. It applies the Advertising Codes in the public interest and with the co-operation of advertisers, agencies and media owners to ensure that advertising is legal, decent, honest and truthful. The ASA acts independently of both the Government and the advertising industry.

Authority for Television On Demand
The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) regulates editorial content (programmes) on over 200 video on demand services available online, via set top boxes, on mobile phones, or via internet connected TVs. For further information, please visit

BBC Trust
The BBC Trust is the governing body of the BBC. It represents the interests of licence fee payers. Its Trustees are responsible for setting the high-level strategy for the BBC so that it delivers the six public purposes set out in the BBC’s Charter, as well as for defending the Corporation's independence from political or commercial interests. It is responsible for holding the BBC to account for value for money. It also sets the ultimate standards for programme making in the organisation and ensures the corporation lives up to them, both through oversight of the BBC's editorial guidelines and by deciding complaints on appeal.

British Board of Film Classification
The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) is an independent, private, not for profit company which classifies films, videos, DVDs and certain video games, advertisements and trailers. The BBFC operates transparent, well-understood and trusted co-regulatory and self regulatory classification regimes based on years of expertise and published Guidelines which reflect public opinion and the risk of harm; and is accountable to Parliament. 

Ofcom is the independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services. For further information about Ofcom please visit: Ofcom’s news releases can be found at:

Press Complaints Commission
The Press Complaints Commission (PCC) is an independent body which administers the system of self-regulation for the press. It does so primarily by dealing with complaints, framed within the terms of the Editors' Code of Practice, about the editorial content of newspapers and magazines (and their websites, including editorial audio-visual material) and the conduct of journalists. It can also assist individuals by representing their interests to editors in advance of an article about them being published.

The Video Standards Council
The Video Standards Council (VSC) was established in 1989 as a body set up to develop and oversee a code of practice designed to promote high standards within the video/dvd industry.  The code was subsequently expanded to promote high standards within the video games industry.  The VSC has established staff training guidelines for retailers and others responsible for supplying videos, DVD and video games to the public to ensure that age restricted media is not made available to under-age consumers.

In 1994 the VSC became responsible for the age-rating of most video games under the scheme developed by the European Leisure Software Publishers Association (ELSPA) now UKIE.  This was superseded by the Pan-European Games Information (PEGI) system and since 2003 the VSC has been responsible for administering the PEGI system which now covers the UK and over 30 countries.

In July 2012, the VSC was appointed as the UK statutory regulator for video games.  The ratings arm of the VSC which undertakes this role is the Games Rating Authority (GRA) which rates video games using the PEGI ratings system.

6. For further information about ParentPort, please visit