TalkTalk has launched a security service that works at network-level to ensure it will block infected web pages and inappropriate content on any device using the home broadband network to surf the web.
It follows a controversial trial of a malware detection system, called Virus Alerts, with some of the ISP's customers last year. TalkTalk was previously criticised by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) for breaking protocol by not informing the regulator that it was running preliminary trials of the system. Customers were also unaware of the trials.
HomeSafe, which is available free to all of the ISP's customers, not only blocks infected web pages to prevent any kind of malware being downloaded onto devices, but it also offers a Parental Controls function that gives parents the ability to block certain types of content, such as pornography or gambling sites.
The account holder can tweak the settings for the security software, for example, to block access to social networks, such as Facebook, at specific times of the day.
Tristia Clarke, commercial director of TalkTalk, said: "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."
Research by the UK ISP revealed a third of kids aged 12 to 17 use their mobile phone to access social networking sites and 29 percent use instant messaging software from their home PC.
Furthermore, nearly six in ten (59 percent) parents are concerned that their children may stumble across inappropriate content while surfing the web, while the same amount are worried about malware being accidentially downloaded
On average, kids are spending over two hours a day on the internet and parents admitted that around half of their children's time online is unsupervised.
"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," added Clarke.
"They [parents] 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.
For more information on HomeSafe, visit TalkTalk's dedicated web page.
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