Parental control software booms to $1 billion industry

Protecting children and teenagers on the Internet

The market for parental control software will be worth over $1 billion this year, driven by various cultural, educational, moral, and personal factors.

Protecting children and teenagers in cyber space is a growing concern for parents, educators, and public administrators. See: Security software reviews.

ABI Research estimates that the global parental control software market to be worth $1.044 billion in 2013.

This growing 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 also contribute.

Products and services include filtering, blocking, monitoring, data collection, surveillance, and notification technologies.

Organizations interviewed in the ABI report "Cyber Security Research" include: Bitdefender, Blue Coat Systems, BullGuard, Child Helpline International, ChildWebGuardian, ContentWatch, KidLogger, NCH Software, Profil Technology, Symantec, Sordum, Timeon Technologies, Vodafone, and WhiteNet.

The number of digital platforms from which children 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.

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.

The child online protection and parental control market is a lucrative one. 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."

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