Whatever your feelings on the Government's war on adult content, many families are worried about how their children access the internet.

In this article, we take a look at how free parental controls work and whether they can really stop children from coming across harmful material or protect them from bullying.

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Parental controls

All of the UK's big broadband providers have offered parental control software free for their customers for some years.

However, following an agreement with the Government in 2014, all broadband providers had to offer:

Router-level controls: meaning that all devices connected to the home wi-fi network will be automatically subject to any blocks set up, as opposed to software which must be installed on each computer.

Simplified settings: like categories of content that will be blocked, for instance: BT has 'light' to 'strong' settings.

More information: on how to use controls and other advice on keeping safe online. They've also agreed to encourage customers, especially new customers, to use controls through 'active choice' which basically means a dialogue window asking users to set up filters.

BT’s Parental Controls

BT launched its free network-level parental controls in late 2013. It works with any device that connects to your BT Hub, or any UK BT Wi-fi hotspot you access using your BT ID.

Use filters to manage content:  Use three pre-defined filters to block content, or create your own custom filter choosing what your family can access. 

Block websites: Create a list of websites you want to block and others to allow.

Personalise filter times: By default filters are on for 24 hours a day, but you can choose when you want the content filters to be active. For instance you can suspend them in the evening when your children have gone to sleep.

Find out more about BT Parental Controls.

Updated 2016

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