From Tuesday many Italian parents will surely breathe easier. From November 21, minors in this country will be automatically prohibited from accessing a series of websites considered inappropriate from their mobile devices, from porn sites, gambling sites or pages with violent content.

This has been established by the Italian communications regulatory authority (Agcom) in a new provision whereby from then on any user of a SIM card who is under 18 will automatically have these restrictions activated. Until now, parental control systems offered by telephone companies were used, but Agcom considers that they have not worked, because some of these companies either do not offer them or do so at a cost to the user, of so many parents decide not to use them.

This automatic mechanism in Italy will be completely free. What happens is that many of these minors have SIM cards registered with their parents’ names, so the new protection will also be available at the request of adults from that same day. In this country the minimum age to obtain a personal SIM card is eight years, but most telephone operators require that you be older, usually around 15 years. The telephone companies will also have to have a free service to guide the card holders to activate the control.

The range of websites restricted to minors in Italy is classified into eight categories. It will be prohibited for them to access sites with pornography or that distribute pornographic material, total or partial nudity, but also portals or applications dedicated to games of chance or bets. Nor will they be able to visit pages that incite violence, racism, eating disorders or the use of alcohol and drugs.

The prohibition also extends to websites that promote the sale or use of weapons or to portals that encourage membership in religious sects or that “promote or offer methods, means of teaching or other resources to influence real events by means of enchantments, curses, magical powers or supernatural beingsā€. Minors will also be blocked from accessing tutorials that explain how to hide online activity and, in general, those that promote anonymity on the web.

According to data from a Lombard pediatric society, it is estimated that around 58% of Italian children between 6 and 10 years old have a personal mobile phone, while 85% of teenagers between 11 and 17 years old do use every day and 72% browse the internet daily.