TalkTalk have launched their network-level Internet security product today which they are calling HomeSafe. It offers to protect users from nasties on the Internet giving warnings if web pages are infected with a virus or malware. The product has been mentioned before due to its somewhat controversial method of gathering data about what sites are infected by viruses by following users around the Internet and scanning each webpage they visit.
Other options included within this product are 'KidSafe parental controls' which allow the account holder to block categories of content that they don't want their children accessing, such as pornography and gambling sites. A 'Homework time' option lets parents block social network and online gaming websites to ensure that children aren't distracted from doing their homework.
"Our customers tell us that they couldn't imagine living without the internet now, especially given how much their children rely on it for school work and social reasons, but they still worry about the innate risks the internet brings with it. In particular they're concerned about what sort of things their children could stumble across when they're surfing online.
This is especially important now that children are regularly using devices like phones, and not just the main family PC, to access the internet. Our research found that 33% of children aged 12-17 use their mobile phones to surf social networking sites and 29% use it to instant message when at home.
HomeSafe is our answer to this. Of course, it's not a silver bullet and it doesn't absolve parents from the responsibility of knowing what their children are up to online. But our research shows parents understand this. They don't want their ISP to control what content they can or can't access online - they just want their ISP to give them the power to implement settings that are right for their family."Tristia Clarke, (Commercial Director) TalkTalk
The new HomeSafe option is free to all TalkTalk customers who can choose to adjust the settings at any time to suit their families needs. This new tool is a welcome piece of kit to a parents armoury which will allow them to better manage their children's Internet usage. Of course, it shouldn't be seen as a magic wand as kids are often resourceful at finding ways around restrictions, and educating children about the appropriate use of the Internet remains important.