parental controls

The digital age has changed what it means to be a child. There are some things that children don’t want to see online and that you, as a parent, would rather they didn’t. Parental controls are the names for filters and blockers of certain content, and can help you protect your children from the things they shouldn’t see or do online.

of 7-11 year olds said they’d seen something unpleasant or hurtful online in the last year ¹

2014 saw a 71% rise in online banking fraud ²

children said they had seen online porn by the age of 12 ³

Where can I set parental controls and what can I protect?

There are three levels of parental controls that you should be aware of:


Broadband &
mobile networks


  • Home broadband (e.g. Sky Broadband)
  • Mobile operator (e.g. Vodafone)
  • Public WiFi

What do they do?

  • Protects your child from accessing age-inappropriate content
  • Prevents access to certain sites




  • Smartphones

  • Tablets

  • Laptops

  • Gaming consoles

  • Smart TVs

What do they do?

  • Prevents access to certain already downloaded apps

  • Prevents the purchasing of new apps

  • Prevents the downloading new apps

  • Prevents changes to privacy settings

  • Prevents password changes


Entertainment &
search engines


  • Search engines

  • Online video sharing (e.g. YouTube)

  • Online streaming and entertainment (e.g. Netflix)

What do they do?

  • Protects your child from accessing age-inappropriate content
  • Shows content suitable for their age

Setting parental controls

Children’s discovery of the internet should be encouraged when they’re in a safe environment. It’s important to activate your parental controls in order to filter out content your children shouldn’t be seeing. Many parents put this off because they think it’ll be difficult. It’s easy and we can show you how.

We’ve created a guide to parental controls including how-to guides to setting up the controls on the major networks, devices, services and entertainment providers in your home, including some of the most popular:

Set your parental controls

Parental controls tools

But remember, parental controls are not fool-proof

Some content and sites can be encrypted, which means they’re coded in a way that prevents the controls from knowing that it is. There are also ways of bypassing controls software if your child is technologically savvy enough.

One of the most effective ways of dealing with the issues is by talking with your child about them. Read up about them and work out the best way of approaching this subject with your child. If you maintain an open and honest dialogue with them where they understand the risks, it can often be as effective as preventing them from seeing the content in the first place.

  1. Childnet (2013)
  2. Financial Fraud Action UK
  3. ICM Survey for BBC3 (2014)