Normal ‘adult’ mobile networks have never been designed with protection – particularly protection of vulnerable children – in mind.
Those who care for some of the UK’s most vulnerable phone users are unwittingly putting them in danger according to the UK’s only specialist child protection Mobile Phone Service.
ParentShield, which provides special Child Protection SIM cards, has issued a warning in the run up to Christmas that many carers could unwittingly be putting their children in danger if they use an unsuitable Adult mobile network.
Adult Phone networks were designed with ‘normal’ phone use in mind. For example, although it’s possible to block a specific number by adding it to the phone’s block list, in most cases the network will still forward the call to a voicemail which can then be used in just as dangerous a manner as if the call had been taken. Turning off the Voicemail facility will still typically message the phone and alert the user with the phone number that has been blocked.
In many cases, previous abusers will need to be blocked from all contact and adding their contact details to the address book on the phone, is certainly not ideal. Blocking a call and then inviting the caller to leave a message can be ‘like a red rag to a bull’ and result in messages being left that are, as a result, not well thought through and then listened to by the child.
ParentShield, being designed with Child Protection from the ground up, has removed the traditional Voicemail facility from its network. The security weaknesses of Mobile Phone Voicemail have been well known and discussed ever since the tragic instances of Voicemail hacking started to come to light. Voicemail is also stored by all the major networks ‘in the clear’ completely unencrypted, and this falls below a standard that’s suitable for child protection, according to the Network.
Ultra Secure Mode
In cases where it’s essential that the phone user ONLY has the ability to communicate ( via both voice and SMS ) with known and trusted numbers. It’s easy to turn on “Ultra Secure Mode” in the Portal. This will convert the phone to a “blocked by default” mode that will initially allow only the two Home Numbers, and then other numbers can be added as well into the allow list.
ParentShield was founded in 2017 to provide the services demanded by parents and professional carers who are charged with protecting the children in their care. With Phone boxes now being a ‘thing of the past’ it’s no longer reasonable to presume a child can find a callbox to call home in an emergency, and children are generally provided their first mobile phone at a far younger age than ever before – bringing the stark difference between an adult and properly-designed child network into view.
ParentShield controls are all made remotely so, once the ParentShield SIM has been put into a child’s phone, absolutely no other settings need to be made on the phone to allow complex allow and block lists, word alerts, and full recording and monitoring facilities.