New parental controls announced by Sky to improve child safety online

New safety settings are big step forward in keeping children safe online, says Peter Wanless

Sky has revealed today that it will automatically turn on Sky Broadband Shield for all new broadband customers as standard in 2016.

"I hope other internet providers will follow Sky's example and automatically turn on parental controls for all broadband customers. Frankly this is a no-brainer; default filters on home broadband put children's safety first while still giving adults the freedom to remove them."
Peter Wanless / NSPCC chief executive

Boys with ipad

Working together to keep children safe online

We've been concerned for some time about the influence porn has on children, who are increasingly finding it online. We campaigned for an opt-in system for adult online material, which culminated in the Prime Minister making an announcement at our London offices in 2013 that customers would have to tell their internet providers if they wanted access to adult content.

Filters are only one part of any parent's online safety toolkit. Talking to children about their digital lives and the potential risks is also vital.

So we teamed up with O2 earlier this year to help parents understand what they can do to protect their children whenever and wherever they go online.

We've developed a nationwide programme of workshops with O2 that will give parents and families the skills and knowledge to understand the internet as children do.

And expert advice is also available to parents through a dedicated online safety helpline – 0808 800 5002 – and from trained staff in O2 stores. We'll also be putting on huge events for parents and kids all over the UK.

What is Sky Broadband Shield?

Sky Broadband Shield gives Sky customers control of their household's internet experience by allowing them to filter what sites can be accessed. It also protects against malware-infected or phishing sites. The first time a customer visits the internet they will be told that Broadband Shield is on.

The watershed feature has adjustable settings to restrict sites for different ages (PG, 13, 18, Custom or none). These can be varied depending on the time of the day and are automatically set to:

  • Age 13 from 5.30am until 9pm
  • Age 18 from 9pm to 5.30am

Customers can amend the settings or turn it off if they want, by logging into MySky with their password. Broadband Shield works across all devices connected to Sky Broadband, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and game consoles.

Currently new customers are asked whether they want to use Sky Broadband Shield, which lets them filter which websites are seen in their home, as part of the broadband set-up process. In the future, it will be switched on when the broadband is first activated.