Today is the tenth annual Safer Internet Day, and Sky has announced a new way its customers can protect children from inappropriate, offensive and dangerous elements of the web.

The broadcaster and ISP has introduced network-level protection to provide a “whole-home” solution in which web content can be filtered out not just by device but at a household-level so that parents can define the type of access they want blocked. That filtering will then apply across all connected devices in the home. See: Broadband advice, reviews and broadband speed test at Broadband Advisor.

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Later this year Sky is to introduce reporting tools to parents so they are informed every time any changes have been made to the control settings they’ve applied.

Sky has 4.25 million broadband customers in the UK, and 10,358,000 satellite TV users.

Sky already offers PIN protection for its Sky TV services (blocking access to programmes and channels, and hiding such areas from the electronic programme guide altogether) and as an ISP free parental controls where certain types of websites can be blocked so that kids don’t accidentally stumble across unsuitable content while surfing the web. See: 2TB Sky+HD box review

“Protecting children from inappropriate content in the digital world is something Sky has always taken extremely seriously,” said Lyssa McGowan, Brand Director of Communications Products at Sky. 

Sky is one of a group of UK ISPs, alongside BT, TalkTalk and Virgin Media, that agreed to government requests for an Active Choice, whereby new customers are presented with an enforced choice as to whether or not to use the tools provided by their ISP to filter access to adult and age-restricted material either at the point of purchase or installation of their internet service.

The ISP Code of Practice, introduced in October 2011 and supported by Prime Minister David Cameron, is an ongoing commitment by the top four UK ISPs to work with each other and other interested parties to explore new technologies that will give parents the ability to better control the online content accessed by their children. The Code includes a commitment from the ISPs to continue to innovate in this area.

Sky became the first broadband provider to pre-tick the ‘Yes’ button – setting up parental controls became the default option, only avoidable if a customer actively chose not to use them. 

The ISP was also the first public WiFi provider to filter out access to adult websites as standard across more than 16,000 WiFi zones. 

“Whether in cafes, shopping centres or train stations – places where parental supervision can’t be assumed – we’ve made sure children can’t inadvertently access inappropriate content over Sky’s public network,” said McGowan.