Most broadband providers can provide their customers with a range of different parental control features. As children are learning how to use the internet from a very young age parental control features are becoming increasingly more important.

What are broadband parental controls?

Parental controls allow you to control both what your child has access to online and for how long they have access to it. They can filter out inappropriate content, such as violence and pornography, limit what can be shared in terms of images or online conversations and set screen time limits. Parental controls can be set at three different levels:

  • At network level – With your broadband provider
  • At device level – On your phone, tablet, games console or computer
  • At application level – Within browsers, apps, games and streaming services

What are some common parental control features?

The features and tools for parental controls vary depending on your internet service producer however some of the most common parental control features are:

Content filters – Content filters are a tool typically included in parental control software. Filters aim to reduce the chances of children coming across inappropriate content while surfing the web. Some filters allow parents to set different levels of access for different children, meaning younger children can be exposed to less.

Time access and monitoring – Whether your children are addicted to playing games, watching their favourite TV show or chatting to friends on social media, some parental control programs allow you to set times for them to be online. After this point, the internet will be turned off. You can also restrict access to certain websites at certain times of the day. Monitoring it lets you see which sites your children have been using and what they’ve been doing on them. If you suspect your child has been exposed to something that’s not age-appropriate, monitoring can be handy for double-checking whether a site has suitable content or not.

Internet time outs – An internet time out gives you the ability to briefly freeze or pause Internet access for a person or specific device with just a few taps. This lets you easily manage Internet access in real-time in addition to setting Device Freeze schedules.

Do parental controls work?

Having parental controls in place can give you peace of mind, especially as it isn’t possible to supervise your kids’ internet use constantly. But there are still some nagging questions: how good are they, and could your kids bypass them if they wanted to?

There are a few things that you should consider:

  • Parental controls will block every site on their blacklist in each of your chosen categories. But that doesn’t mean they will block every single site that exists in that category, or that they won’t block perfectly acceptable sites by mistake. There’s often a lack of transparency about what exactly is being blocked so you might not know until you chance upon one of the taboo sites.
  • In most cases, the controls affect all devices connected to your network. Set them too strict and you’ll end up blocking sites that you want to look at yourself.
  • Your broadband provider’s parental controls only work on your broadband network. When your children take their tablets or phones to a friend’s house or even connect via a mobile network, the safeguards will no longer be in place.


Do all broadband providers offer parental controls?

All broadband providers have some form of parental controls, when comparing broadband deals you can consider what each provider offers and decide which is best suited for you.