Sky today announces its commitment to automatically turn on Sky Broadband Shield
for all new broadband customers as standard in 20161
. Currently new customers are asked whether they want to use Sky Broadband Shield, which lets them filter which websites are seen in their home, as part of the broadband set-up process. In the future, Sky Broadband Shield will be switched on when the broadband is first activated.
Sky Broadband Shield gives Sky customers control of their household’s internet experience by allowing them to filter what sites can be accessed, as well as protecting against malware-infected or phishing sites. Its watershed feature has adjustable settings which use age rating options (PG, 13, 18, Custom or none) to restrict sites and these can be varied depending on the time of the day.
The first time a new customer visits the internet they will be informed that Sky Broadband Shield is on. It will be automatically set to 13 until 9pm and then 18 afterwards unless it is amended. Customers can amend the settings or turn it off if they want, by logging into MySky with their password. Sky Broadband Shield works across all devices connected to Sky Broadband, including laptops, tablets, smartphones and game consoles.
Sky Broadband Shield was launched in November 2013. It was offered to all existing Sky Broadband customers from that point with new customers having the option to turn it on as they set up their broadband. Earlier this year, Sky emailed all Sky Broadband customers who had joined Sky before the launch of Sky Broadband Shield but hadn’t made a choice about whether they wanted it or not. If there was no response it was automatically turned on. 62% of these customers have kept some form of parental control - significantly higher engagement than any other broadband provider.
As part of the changes announced today, Sky will repeat this process for all Sky Broadband customers who have joined since November 2013 and have not turned on Sky Broadband Shield. Sky led the way in being the only broadband provider to introduce default filtering. Following the customers’ positive response to that initiative, in 2016 Sky will be the first broadband company to automatically provide filtering to all its new customers.
Sky will continue to highlight the benefits of Sky Broadband Shield for customers, but this is just one way of protecting children online. Sky continues to support www.internetmatters.org
which provides guidance and resources for parents. It offers advice on a variety of parental concerns including inappropriate content, cyber bullying and radicalisation as well ‘how-to’ guides for setting up parental controls on a range of devices.
Lyssa McGowan, Director, Communications Products, Sky commented: “Customers have really come to appreciate the value of Sky Broadband Shield in protecting their families from unwanted and potentially harmful internet content. What we have learnt is that as well as the flexibility to set the right level of protection for their homes, they also want us to make it as easy as possible for them. The simplest thing we can do to help them is to automatically turn on filtering and then allow customers to easily choose and change their settings. This means they can have complete peace of mind that they will protected online from the word go”
Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the NSPCC, said: "This is a big step forward in keeping children safe online and we hope other internet providers will follow Sky's example and automatically turn on parental controls for all broadband customers. Frankly this is a no-brainer; default filters on home broadband put children's safety first while still giving adults the freedom to remove them.
"However, filters are only one part of any parent's online safety toolkit. Talking to children about their digital lives and the potential risks is also vital, and the NSPCC is on hand to help parents understand what they can do to protect their children whenever and wherever they venture online."
Minister for Internet Safety and Security, Baroness Shields said: "Family filters have proven to be an extremely helpful tool for parents to safeguard children from age-inappropriate content. Sky's "default on" approach is a great example of how industry is exploring different technologies to help keep children safe online."
1 Exact timing to be confirmed.
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Sky is Europe's leading entertainment company, serving 21 million customers across five countries: UK, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy. We offer the best and broadest range of content, deliver market-leading customer service and use innovative new technology to give customers a better TV experience, whenever and wherever they choose.
Sky has annual revenues of over £11 billion and is Europe's leading investor in television content with a combined programming budget of £4.9 billion. The group employs 30,000 people and is listed on the London Stock Exchange (SKY).