Virgin Media last to turn on porn filters at network level

Like the other three of the UK's largest internet service providers, Virgin Media has implemented its parental control filters to block access to pornography and other inappropriate online content.

Called Web Safe, this will initially be presented as an option to new customers and will appear during the installation of a new broadband connection. They will be able to decide whether to implement the filters or not.

Existing customers will also have access to the filter blocking system, with Virgin Media contacting the entire subscription base with instructions by the end of 2014.

As with similar schemes offered by Sky and BT, Virgin Media's Web Safe programme works at network level, so if the filters are turned on, it will work across all devices that connect to that home network. All ISPs have implemented the changes as a result of a government mandate.

READ: UK government draws list of sites for ISPs to unblock again, thanks to over-enthusiastic filters

It is too soon to say whether Virgin Media's filter system will suffer from the same issues as reported with its rivals, including the over-zealous blocking of appropriate websites, such as those dealing with sexual abuse and helplines. But the company claims that it is working on a more customisable infrastructure for parents to decide what type of content they deem inappropriate.

Like the other ISPs', the filters can simply be left inactive.

In tandem with the launch, Virgin Media has officially introduced Switched on Families, a series of guides designed to help "parents, grandparents and guardians" to understand and get advice on a range of online issues, including inappropriate content, cyber bullying and digital addiction. You can find out more from viginmedia.com/switchedonfamilies.