Big 4 ISPs team up to protect kids online

The top 4 ISPs in the UK - BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media - have teamed up to publish a Code of Practice that should help parents keep their kids safe online.

The Code is the result of discussions between ISPs, Government, NGOs, and parents’ and childrens’ groups and implements the Bailey Review recommendation that ISPs should make "it easier for parents to block access to adult and age restricted material".

The objectives set out within the Code include commitments to:

-          Increase awareness of the availability of parental controls.

-          Present new customers with an enforced choice as to whether or not to use the tools (network or PC-based controls) provided by their ISP free of charge to filter access to the internet (“Active Choice”) at the point of purchase or installation/activation of their internet service.

-          Provide all customers with regular reminders (at least annually) linking to help or advice on using parental controls through a wide range of customer communications channels.

-          Make it easier for NGOs, schools, child protection groups and others to educate parents on internet safety, by being clearer about tools available for free from each ISP.

-          Promote clear, easily accessible channels for parents to report problems with parental controls to the associated ISPs.

-          Work together to produce customer research that provides Government, Parliament and policy makers with a deeper insight into customer awareness and perception of the tools available to families to tailor their online experience.

-          Work closely with the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to promote clear, accessible channels for parents to report a suspected incident of abuse or inappropriate online behaviour.

-         Assess emerging technologies and parental control solutions with wider stakeholders and provide regular updates to UKCCIS about the relative merits of these developments.

-         Publish an annual update against the measures outlined in this Code, with the first report being made in October 2012.

Communications Minister Ed Vaizey said: "I am pleased to see industry is taking action to help parents protect their children online. The new code of conduct is a real, practical step to ensure households make a choice about parental controls when opening a new internet account. I look forward to continuing to work with the ISPs and the rest of the industry to help children enjoy the benefits of the internet safely."