One of the most effective methods of ensuring your child is safe online is to implement parental controls on your home broadband package. Listed below are the three main Internet providers in the UK and the ways in which you can benefit from their parental controls. If you have a home broadband package with these providers, then you can access their parental controls for no extra charge and comprehensively prevent any inappropriate content being accessed by your children within your home:
If your family has purchased either BT Broadband or BT Infinity, then you can access their BT Parental Controls service for free. This service is applicable to any computer or mobile device within your home which connects to your BT home hub. Using this service, you can implement a series of customisable filters which control the Internet content to which your children have access. Moreover, once you have implemented these filters, they will also be applied if your children connect to one of BT's UK Wi-Fi hotspots using your family's BT ID. This will ensure that your children remain protected from inappropriate content both inside and outside of your home.
Within the BT Parental Controls service there are three basic filter levels; strict, moderate and light. Once you have decided upon one of these basic filters, you can customise your settings. For example, you can block or allow specific sites that your children may attempt to visit. By doing so, you can remain in complete control of your children's Internet activity.
In order to benefit from these BT Parental Controls, simply login to your My BT account and click the 'Get Started' link which is located on the BT Parental Controls tile. From here, you will be guided through the rapid installation process. After doing so, your customised parental controls will be activated within 2 hours. This simple and easy to access process does not require the installation of any additional software packages.
Sky Broadband Shield
All Sky Broadband customers can access Sky Broadband Shield for free. Much like BT Parental Controls, Sky Broadband Shield enables you to individually select the websites, which are accessible within your home and those, which are blocked. Moreover, this system also protects your home broadband network from visiting any dangerous websites such as hacking or phishing sites or those that may contain viruses. Sky Broadband Shield will comprehensively filter out any inappropriate web content, which you have previously selected as inappropriate within your customised settings.
In order to protect your family from age inappropriate web content, Sky Broadband offers three filter settings which have been categorised according to age; PG, 13 and 18. Within these settings, you can extensively customise your home broadband settings in order to protect your children against:
- Online gaming sites
- Social networking sites
- Cyber bullying
- Pornography and other sites which contain adult content
- Violent, criminal or racially offensive content
- Adult dating sites
- File sharing or hacking sites
- Malware sites
Once you have assigned your personal parental control settings, they will be implemented across all of the computers and mobile devices within your home which are connected to your Sky Broadband network; thereby alleviating you of the inconvenience of setting up and maintaining controls on each individual device. Moreover, as the Account Holder, you will be notified if any of your parental control settings have been changed in any way. This enables you to remain aware of all of the Internet activity which is occurring within your home at all times. In order to implement Sky Broadband Shield, you simply login to your My Sky account and follow the step by step process for 'Sky Broadband Shield'.
Virgin Media Security
If you are a pre-existing Virgin Media customer, you will receive free parental controls services as part of your home broadband package. Virgin Media Security enables you to comprehensively filter your home computers and mobile devices against age inappropriate websites. You can specifically block and allow certain sites, as well as benefiting from continuous Virgin Media Security updates which will ensure your home devices are universally protected from any new sites which may be harmful for your children.
The Virgin Media Security package enables you to configure individual parental controls for each member of your family. By doing so, you can assign age appropriate content for each of your children, as well as assigning profiles with no restrictions for the adults within your home. In order to implement these proficient safety protocols, all you need to do is create a Windows User Account for each person in your home. These individual accounts will then be configured with your Virgin Media broadband package in order to assign age appropriate settings for each of the children within your home. Moreover, once you have installed these default settings, you can customise each account in order to protect your children from particular websites and their content.
There are a wealth of other home broadband packages which provide comprehensive parental controls features. For example, if you and your family use EE Home Broadband, you will receive Norton Family software for free. Moreover, EE currently provide an online archive of informative Internet safety videos which you can watch with your children in order to teach them about safe Internet practices.
Similarly, if you have purchased your home broadband package through Plusnet, then your family can benefit from Plusnet Protect. This software is supported by McAfee security and enables you to activate age-appropriate website filtering, password protected settings, as well as assign filter lists for the websites which your children can access, as well as allocate web browsing schedules in order to limit the amount of time which your children can spend on the Internet.
Ultimately, irrespective of the Internet provider that supplies your family with your home broadband package, all of these organisations offer effective parental controls services that can be used to safeguard your home.
As well as your home broadband package, you can implement further parental controls settings within your family's chosen Internet browser. Listed below are some of the most popular Internet browsers and the safety features which they offer for families:
If Mozilla Firefox is your family Internet browser, you can use the FoxFilter add-on. This personal content filter can be installed for free and will block your children from accessing inappropriate web content.
It is possible to filter out inappropriate web content, block individual sites, and even assign age rating restrictions via the Tools menu on Internet Explorer. Simply scroll down to "Internet Options" and you can begin to implement your personalised parental control settings.
Families who use Google Chrome as their Internet browser can now download new parental control software for free. This software enables you to create profiles for 'supervised users' whose access to inappropriate content can be blocked by signing in with the 'manager' profile. Chrome will also keep a log of every site that each of your children visit and will not allow them to clear their Internet history. As a result, you can remain fully informed of all of your children's Internet activities.
If you own an Apple Mac, you can activate comprehensive parental control settings on your Safari browser. Simply choose "System Preferences" from the Apple menu , and within the "View" section you can select "Parental Controls". Enabling this function will filter out any inappropriate web content and will block your children from viewing adult websites.
Although parental controls settings are not the only solution for keeping your child safe online, they provide a solid foundation from which you can protect your child from inappropriate web content. Whilst your children are safeguarded from these sites, you can begin to educate them on safe and responsible Internet practices.