Broadband News

BT Retail launches its network level parental controls

The pressure for broadband providers to implement network level parental controls has been a constant drip feed in the last couple of years and today has BT Retail launching their network level controls for their over six million broadband customers. These new network controls are in addition to the parental control software that has been available to BT users for some years.

The controls are managed via the website and over the course of 2014 existing customers will be prompted to make their choice as to whether leave the controls totally off, or enable one of three options, light, moderate or strict filters. For those that want more control a fourth custom option is available and how to set this up is covered by a BT FAQ entry.

Which categories are blocked/allowed with BT Parental Controls Light Level
Click for larger image
Screenshot of moderate parental control settings
Screenshot of strict parental control settings

As with the recent Sky network level filtering system you can whitelist (allow) or blacklist (deny) access to specific websites and adding a website to the whitelist if it is inadvertently blocked is the default advice on the BT website. Worryingly the FAQ section does not appear to offer a path so that people can easily report incorrectly blocked websites.

A nice feature is that parents will be able to configure regular times when the filters will can be turned off, e.g. implement a 9pm curfew so that teenagers can have less restricted access once younger siblings have gone to bed. Another option is the ability to set a homework period, when many parents may want to enforce gaming blocks.

We should remind you that while blocking can be an adequate solution for younger children, parental controls will often be seen as a challenge by teenagers and therefore parental controls do not remove the need to discuss topics that parents all too often want to avoid.


And nothing that any kid with something between their ears can't get around.

  • otester
  • over 7 years ago

Looking at the "Strict" option, was somewhat horrified at the precedent of classing the allowed traffic as "Normal Internet Browsing"

Have you seen what it is calling "abnormal" by implication - Social Networking, Gaming, Media Streaming (iPlayer?), Dating?

The worry has been expressed before about the filters stance turning into a "Do you want your internet in normal people mode or in dodgy mode?" and this is certainly not helping.

What was wrong with Allow = "All other categories" or is that too technical?

  • prlzx
  • over 7 years ago

I couldn't see (in the picture) the option to block harmful malware-hosting, phishing, etc sites? Or even to block some of the more intrusive advert-delivery and user-tracking sites?

Does Metronet's content filter still work? That had categories for advertising, and for malware.

Nor was it DNS-based, though whether that makes it any easier or harder to bypass, I don't know.

Does BT Sheffield offer anything like that, given that they bought Metronet?

  • c_j_
  • over 7 years ago

Great news that these services are gaining momentum. It helps me stop my mother from accessing phishing sites in error and having to spend time fixing her machine. She has Sky BB and their 18 rating works just fine for this type of thing.

  • CaptainW
  • over 7 years ago

Every nerd in school will be asked by other kids how to get around them.

These policies are also employed in many work places and everywhere I've worked has one guy who knows how to get around them, and the word spreads.

  • Dushyant
  • over 7 years ago

What a complete waste of time (not to mention good parenting starts at home) a pain for people who legit need access to blocked content and many many kids can work around these filters these days.

  • Rroff
  • over 7 years ago

If children are raised correctly, there is no need to censor anything.

  • drteeth
  • over 7 years ago

It's good for idiots, and more or less useless for everyone else. But that's so with most things.

  • mervl
  • over 7 years ago

It's also related to the whole UN Agenda 21 thing, if people are stupid, they consume less.

  • otester
  • over 7 years ago

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