Vodafone has announced that it will be launching a baring and filtering mechanism which will prevent under age customers accessing 18-rated content such as gambling, erotic content, chat and dating services.

The service, called “Content Control” will be the default option on all Vodafone phones. Those who want to access age restricted services will have to register with credit card details and provide proof that they are over 18.

Vodafone admits that the system isn't fool proof, however hopes that it will offer some security to the majority of its customers. Some commentators believe however that the move is to allow the mobile phone operator to start offering adult content with the peace of mind that it is offering a safety net for the unsure.

The move comes after the UK mobile network operators published a joint Code of Practice in January that is designed to protect children from accessing material that may only be suitable for an adult audience.

The Code makes several commitments, including the introduction of barring and filtering mechanisms by all networks by December 2004. Vodafone is the first operator to fully implement the Code.