Saturday, 31 January 2015

Surf safely

If you've got children, and you're living in a typically technology-filled home, then you've got a problem. It's a peculiarly modern problem. And it's a relatively recent problem. But it's potentially one of the biggest problems parents now face.

I use the internet in my work as a matter of course. Most of the research I do is conducted online and I'm used to having a fast, reliable wireless connection. All my devices are synchronised and I can open tabs on my phone or iPad or my Mac interchangeably without copying or sending links. It's a real bonus.

But it comes with its dangers. There are young, nimble-fingered and incredibly adept members of the family who revel in the mysteries of new technology. Shielding them from the internet's less wholesome corners can be a constant problem.

You can forget that password. Or rather, if you do don't worry as your kids will almost certainly know it whether you think they do or not. If you want to prevent the bad and let in the good, you need a filter.

We're with TalkTalk and their HomeSafe filter is among the best there is. It's free to all TalkTalk customers and puts parents in control of what's available on their home wifi network. Through your account settings, you can set a series of restrictions that means certain sites and searches will be censored.

It works, too. Even an innocent search (mine) for the opening hours of a restaurant was blocked because it was deemed to contain references to 'alcohol and drug' products.

Well, you can't be too careful. Rather that than have the kids stumble across something that they're not ready for. I can, if I wish, suspend the filter to gain access to specific sites or just phone directory enquiries to book a table!

But the kids can't un-see what they might find if we're not careful.

That's not all TalkTalk is doing. Last year they were instrumental in the launch of - a ground-breaking not-for-profit organisation that gives parents expert advice about online safety issues, such as cyberbullying, inappropriate content and sexting. It helps parents learn about, talk about and deal with issues their children may encounter online. Internet Matters ensure parents have not just the tools, but also the information they need to make informed decisions. Establishing an independent online safety organisation is a big commitment, but it’s an important part of what I feel a responsible ISP should be doing.

TalkTalk is proud to be leading the debate and continues to work hard to ensure its customers maximise the benefits of being online, but have the peace of mind to do it safely.

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