Protecting children and teenagers in cyber space is a growing concern for parents, educators, and public administrators. The number of digital platforms from which they can access the Internet is constantly increasing: smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles are the newest popular connected platforms adding to the existing PC and laptop vectors, according to ABI Research (www.abiresearch.com).
Cyber bullying and grooming, violent and inappropriate content, exposure of personal data, and privacy violations are all too common threats. Low parental knowledge and lack of adequate cyber education for children is prompting a surge in demand for filtering, blocking, and control technologies, according to the research group.
The child online protection and parental control market is a lucrative one, says ABI Research. The drivers for growth are inherently affected by many different cultural, educational, moral, and personal factors. Consequently, the demand for appropriate solutions is not only large, but also varied; vertically (by international organizations, national bodies, educational institutions, and individual parents) and horizontally (by Internet service providers, broadcasters, and telecommunications operators).
“While advanced digital education for children remains deficient, the demand for control and blocking solutions remains high, and is creating a highly fragmented, ad-hoc yet competitive market for parental control vendors,” says Michela Menting, senior analyst at ABI Research. “Over time however, as the digital knowledge gap closes, educational solutions will feature much more prominently in the market for child online protection.”
ABI Research calculates the global parental control software market to be worth US$1.044 billion in 2013. The market will be driven primarily by parental spending; to a lesser extent, educational institutions, such as schools and public libraries, and information and communication service providers will weigh in as well. Products and services include filtering, blocking, monitoring, data collection, surveillance, and notification technologies.