Irish technology solution goes global with Vodafone roll-out across seven international markets
Vodafone Ireland today launched an extended version of its parental control software, Safety Net, for use on smartphones. Safety Net places the protection of young people from unwanted calls and texts or inappropriate use of the internet firmly in the hands of parents.
Vodafone partnered with anti-bullying expert, Professor Stephen Minton, and the Irish technology consultancy, Techbridge, to develop the software which was first made available for Vodafone customers on Symbian devices in 2009.
Vodafone Group has since partnered with Techbridge to include smartphones by developing an app on the Android platform. Safety Net will now be rolled out in seven additional Vodafone markets, including the UK, Germany, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Egypt.
Safety Net is the most sophisticated application of its kind available to smartphone users in Ireland. Features include the ability to disallow specific numbers in order to combat bullying; the ability to set up a list of allowed numbers (e.g. parents or other trusted contacts); the option to block access to the web, WIFI and Bluetooth either completely or on a time managed basis; removal of the camera function as well as a secure folder which can only be accessed by the guardian or parent where blocked messages and calls can be archived.
Commenting on the launch of the app, Professor Minton of the School of Education at Trinity College Dublin, who collaborated on the development of the technology with Vodafone Ireland and Techbridge said: ‘Cyber-bullying is an issue which researchers, educators and parents alike have become increasingly aware of over the last few years, and evidence points to bullying and harassment via mobile telephones being one of its most frequent forms. It is important to recognise that mobile telephone technology did not create the problem of bullying; however, along with parents, school communities and society at large, mobile telephone operators can play their part in addressing the problem. Towards this end, Safety Net is an excellent, extremely well thought-out and user-friendly application, which is likely to be of real help to young people and their parents who are concerned with the safe use of mobile telephones.’
Speaking about today’s launch of Safety Net, Barry Leonard, Chairman of Techbridge said: “Techbridge are delighted to deliver the Safety Net app for Vodafone internationally and are pleased that children and parents in so many countries and languages can use the application to combat bullying.”
Safety Net will be available to start on the Vodafone Smart and the Samsung Galaxy S, both Android smartphones, and to all users in Ireland (including non-Vodafone customers). It is available to download for free from the Android Market today. For more information, visit their website at