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BT helps parents keep kids even safer on the internet

14th February 2011 Print

BT announced that it will launch a new range of printed and online safety advice in March 2011 to help parents keep children safe on the internet. At the same time, a major campaign will prompt BT broadband customers to consider BT’s free Family Protection parental-control software, which will now be offered automatically as part of the install process.

Family Protection is provided in conjunction with internet security industry leader McAfee. The service is included free with all BT Total Broadband packages and is part of a comprehensive offering of online security options, which also include firewall and anti-virus protection.

The internet is a rich source of information and entertainment for children. However, many parents want more control over what children can see or do on the web. From March, BT will phase in the delivery of child internet safety booklets to tens of thousands of new broadband customers with their orders, make updated online advice available and make it easier for parents to benefit from its Family Protection software, by further simplifying the download process.

BT will also communicate safety messages to millions of existing customers regularly, ensuring that all customers are reminded at least once a year about the availability of Family Protection software. The new booklet will also be available to existing customers who request it.

The Family Protection software would have a total retail value of up to £120 million annually if purchased separately by our customers. The software has a set of controls that help parents match the maturity of each of their children to what they can do on the web. Parents can block entire programs or inappropriate websites, either by age, category or by blocking an individual site. Time limits can be set and parents can request instant alerts if children attempt to access blocked sites or post personal information.

BT continues to evolve its child-protection offering and is also evaluating network-based parental controls. However, at this time these controls can’t match the functionality offered by PC-based parental-control software. BT will continue to lead the debate amongst the industry in order to keep this technology under review as it evolves.

Jon Brown, head of strategy and development at NSPCC, said: “The internet has huge educational and social benefits. Children are often expected to research their homework online, as well as entertain themselves and socialise. However, the risks to their privacy and safety are very real. The NSPCC recommends filtering software and we welcome BT’s investment in providing advice and simplifying the way in which parents can control how their children use the internet.”

BT has been involved right from the start in the campaign to make children’s experience online as safe as possible. It was a founder member of ATVOD and the Internet Watch Foundation and the first to join Government initiatives UKCCIS and Get Safe Online. BT is still very actively involved with these organisations either at board level or through specific campaigns. BT has offered internet safety advice to parents and children for many years and is supporting Safer Internet Day on 8 February 2011.