Take a look at how to keep your child's smartphone safe online

If you are buying your child a smartphone, discover how easy it is to activate BT Parental Controls and help protect them online.

While a phone has lots of benefits for children, access to the internet also raises issues, including viewing websites, photos and videos that may upset or disturb them.

We realise it’s important for you to protect your children (and grandchildren) from inappropriate content online. To keep children safe, we offer parental controls for BT Mobile and Broadband customers that can be used on smartphones. Filters block unsuitable content, reassuring parents that young children can go online safely. 

[Read more: Preparing children for online challenges as they start secondary school]

BT offers two types of parental controls that function separately: BT Mobile Parental Controls and BT Parental Controls. Here’s how they work.

BT Mobile Parental Controls

Parental Controls are available to all BT Mobile customers, giving parents and guardians control over what type of content their children can access using a BT Mobile smartphone.

BT Mobile Parental Controls work when the phone is connected to the internet via BT Mobile’s data network over 4G, 3G and 2G. They don’t work if you are connected to wi-fi at home or via the BT Wi-fi app, head to ‘BT Parental Controls’ below to find out how to do this.

1: Go to bt.com/mymobile and log in with your BT ID.

2: Scroll down to Parental Controls

Look for ‘Filter mobile data content’ and you’ll notice a drop-down menu, with three options: Light, Strict and Off.

BT Mobile Parental Controls filters

Light: By default it’s set to ‘Light,’ which blocks content suitable for the over 12’s. This includes access to the following types of content. To explore them in more detail visit the BT Help pages.

  • Alcohol
  • Criminal
  • Drugs
  • Gore
  • Hacking
  • Hate:
  • Pornography
  • Self harm
  • Sex advice
  • Suicide
  • Tobacco
  • Violence
  • Texts to 18+ services

Strict: This blocks content only suitable for the over 12s. This means all of the above, but also unmoderated social networking sites, online dating and chat rooms.

Off: This setting allows everything.

Once activated, BT Mobile Parental Controls take up to 30 minutes to work.

[Read more: Cyberbullying facts and advice]

BT Parental Controls

BT Mobile customers get free wi-fi at 5 million hotspots around the UK via the BT Wi-fi app. To protect your child if they go online this way, you’ll need to activate BT Parental Controls, which are part of your BT Extras.

BT Parental Controls are also available free to all broadband customers, these apply to every device – laptop, tablet or smartphone - that connects to your home hub wired or wirelessly. BT Parental Controls also apply if broadband customers connect to a BT Wi-fi hotspot using your BT ID.

Activate Parental Controls: BT Mobile customers

  • Go to bt.com/mymobile and log in with your BT ID.
  • Scroll down to Parental Controls look for ‘You have not set up your BT wi-fi parental controls’ and click Get started. Go to ’Setting BT Parental Controls’ below.

Activate Parental Controls: BT Broadband customers

  • Go to MyBT and log-in using your BT ID.
  • Scroll down to Manage your extras, look for BT Parental Controls and click Set up BT Parental Controls


BT Parental Controls

Setting BT Parental Controls

BT Parental Controls have three options: Change filter levels, Manage allowed & blocked sites and Set filter times.


BT Mobile Parental Controls

Change filter levels

There are three pre-set levels to choose between or you can customise your filter.

Light: Blocks Pornography, Alcohol and Tobacco, Obscene and Tasteless, Dating, Hate and Self-harm and Drugs.

Moderate: Blocks all the above and Social Networking, Gambling, Nudity, Weapons and Violence.

Strict: Blocks all the above and Fashion & Beauty, File Sharing, Games and Media Streaming.

Custom: Choose which categories you want to block, including: Search Engines and Sex Education.

[Read more: Step-by-step advice to setting up smartphone controls]

Manage allowed & blocked sites

Here you can choose which websites you want to be able to access all the time, regardless of your settings. You can also enter websites you want to block.

Enter the URL and click the green plus icon.

BT Mobile Manage Filter levels

Set filter times

There may be times when you want to suspend BT Parental Controls, perhaps in the evening when the kids are in bed and adults will be online. Use the drop-down menu to select the days and time when the filter will be off.

Worried about your child being distracted when they should be studying? You can set times when social media, chat and games will be blocked on top of your normal filter options.

Click Save changes to finish.

BT Mobile Parental Controls filter levels

Looking for more advice? Internet Matters can help.

Internet Matters is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to e-safety, set up by the UK’s leading ISPs including BT.

InternetMatters has comprehensive advice about all online safety issues, with advice to help parents understand and deal with the issues facing young children today including:  

To find out  more about cyberbullying and other online safety concerns, Internet Mattersn offers a wealth of free, practical advice to parents and carers to help keep children safe.

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