December 17th 2013
BT has activated its new network-based internet filter which is intended to prevent children from accessing inappropriate content.
The move follows a deal between the government and the 'Big 4' internet service providers (ISPs) which will result in 90% of UK homes having the ability to limit access to adult content on all of their online devices within two months.
Currently, only 43% of parents of five to 15 year-olds have any filters in place on the family computer or laptop, with 13% saying they do not know how to install controls, or that they did not know it was possible (source: Ofcom). Now, new BT customers will be directed to make a choice on whether or not to activate the parental controls when setting up their connection for the first time. The default setting is that the controls will be activated. Existing customers will be contacted next year to ask whether or not they wish to activate the controls.
The controls will offer three levels of filter – strict, moderate and light. All three cover pornography, 'obscene and tasteless' content, hate and self-harm, drugs, alcohol and tobacco and dating sites. 'Moderate' and 'strict' also block content about nudity, weapons and violence, gambling and social networking, with 'strict' also blocking fashion and beauty sites, file-sharing, games and media streaming. Parents will also have the option to manually enable or block specific websites. They will also be able to set the filters to turn on or off or change settings from one level to another at specific times,
The controls cover any connected device using home broadband: PCs, laptops, games consoles, tablets and smartphones.
Sky, Virgin and TalkTalk have also agreed to introduce network filters, with family friendly engaged as the default setting.