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Putting parents first

07 December 2011

Putting parents first

In October, Virgin Media, and the other three largest Internet Service Providers (ISP) in the UK – BT, Sky and TalkTalk – launched a Code of Practice with the aim of supporting parents to protect their families online. The Code outlines a core set of commitments to help inform parents about the options available to them to control how and when their children access content online...


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The Code was developed by the four ISPs in consultation with the Government, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), parents' and children's groups and commits Virgin Media, and the other ISPs, to provide parents with clearer information and education about using parental controls in the home to prevent kids from accessing content and applications they shouldn't online. The Code commitments implement one of the key recommendations of the recent Government backed Bailey Review, which states that ISPs should do more tomake it easier for parents to block access to adult and age restricted material”.

The Code of Practice, which has received the support from the likes of David Cameron and Reg Bailey (the author of the Bailey Review), is the first step in an ongoing commitment to explore new technologies and provide parents with consistent advice about how to control the content and applications accessed by their children online.

So, what are we committing to through the Code?

At the heart of the Code is a commitment to empower parents and carers with simple, clear information about how to protect their kids online. In practice, this means making sure that new customers have to make a choice about installing and activating parental controls on laptops and PCs in the home. It also means communicating the benefits of parental controls to existing customers on at least an annual basis.

As news this week demonstrates, no parental control filters - whether PC based or deep within the network - can 100% guarantee that kids will be prevented from accessing content online that they shouldn't. Therefore it's absolutely key that while ISPs like Virgin Media provide parents with parental control tools, we don't lull parents into a false sense of security. We need to be clear with parents and policy makers that technical measures are no substitute for good parenting and open lines of communication with little ones in the home.

The Code provides a fantastic foundation to build on, and we'll be working hard over the next few months to raise awareness of these issues. But our commitments don't start and end with a Code of Practice and we 're keen to hear from you about how you protect your little ones from stuff they shouldn't see.

All your comments and suggestions are very welcome!

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