Friendly public WiFi what you need to know to keep your child safe

By Internet Matters Team on

The rise in young people using smartphones has led to a ‘safe WiFi’ symbol campaign to be launched to raise awareness to keep our children safe when using public WiFi.

Soaring smartphone use in children coupled with a huge increase in the number of UK public WiFi hotspots has led to a new campaign calling on businesses to let customers know their internet filters out inappropriate content.

The ‘It’s Good to Know’ campaign has been launched by Friendly WiFi, the UK Government-initiated certification scheme that is the only one of its kind in the world, and aims to support the UK’s ambitions to become the safest places in the world to go online.

Friendly WiFi was initiated in July 2014 to ensure public Wi-Fi meets minimum filtering standards, particularly in those areas where children are present.

In 2014, there were around 5.6m WiFi hotspots in Britain and this is estimated to have tripled by 2018. Last year, figures showed that nearly half the population regularly use public WiFi hotspots.

Globally, total public WiFi hotspots is expected to grow to 432.5m by 2020. Currently, it is estimated that more than half of the world’s WiFi remains unfiltered for adult content.

Venues displaying the Friendly WiFi symbol have Wi-Fi filters which deny access to pornography and webpages known by the Internet Watch Foundation to host indecent images of children and advertisements or links to such content.

The service has been adopted by high street giants Tesco, Starbucks and IKEA as well as hundreds of WiFi providers. Now children’s campaigners are calling specifically on UK businesses who have children and families regularly using their public WiFi to show they are ‘friendly’.

What is friendly WiFi?

Friendly WiFi is the government-initiated safe certification standard for public WiFi. It was initiated by the UK Government in 2014 to ensure public Wi-Fi meets minimum filtering standards, particularly in those areas where children are present.

Venues displaying the Friendly WiFi symbol have Wi-Fi filters which deny access to pornography and webpages known by the Internet Watch Foundation to host indecent images of children and advertisements or links to such content.

Friendly WiFi is operated by RDI (UK) which oversees the UK database of qualified, security checked, insured and safe digital installers.

How can you get involved? 

Get involved with the campaign by using the hashtag #ItsGoodToKnow and help spread the word to other parents to understand that when they see the Friendly WiFi symbol their children can remain protected online.

top tip

Look out for the Friendly WiFi symbol to know that the public WiFi is safe for children to use

Learn more