BT Forces Customers To Make Parental Controls Choice

BT will offer network level parental controls to customers – and there’s no sitting on the fence

BT will offer network level parental controls to new and existing customers, which restrict or block access to pornography and other content deemed unsuitable for children.

It is widely reported that BT Parental Controls are on by default; in fact, new customers will have to choose whether or not to enforce the block when they set up their Internet connection for the first time. On the set-up screen, the option to activate the controls is pre-selected by default. BT says this simply requires users to confirm whether or not they want them enforced.

All existing subscribers will be contacted during 2014 asking them to make a decision regarding the controls, which cover any Internet-connected device, such as PCs, smartphones, tablets and games consoles.

BT Parental Controls

Porn - Shutterstock - © jaymastThe government has said all ISPs should offer such services to customers so that children can be protected from harmful websites by the end of next year. BT says it is has offered such options for “years”, but its offering had previously been restricted to laptops and desktops.

“BT takes the issue of online child protection extremely seriously and we are very pleased to be able to launch the whole-home filter to help parents keep their families safe online,” says Pete Oliver, MD of consumer commercial marketing at BT. “We’ve been focused on the issue of online safety since we developed the world’s first Cleanfeed filter to block child abuse images and made the technology available free to other ISPs across the world a decade ago.”

The telecom says the controls have been tested with a variety of different consumers and groups such as Mumsnet, and have three filter levels – strict, moderate and light – each of which can be customised to add additional websites.

Restrictions can also be limited to certain times of the day, with additional protection during “homework” time, and users will be able to change settings at any time by logging into their My BT account. Just in case a child happens to gain access to that account, any change in the settings will be followed with a confirmation email.

So-called porn filters are controversial, and despite the Prime Minister saying ISPs will have to block explicit websites, a number of observers have said they will not work, while many are against default controls.

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