TalkTalk welcomes call to speed up ‘active choice’ plans
One in three new TalkTalk customers offered ‘active choice’ choosing to turn on parental controls

TalkTalk welcomes call for acceleration of ‘active choice’ plans as the only UK ISP to have introduced ‘active choice’ for new customers

One in three new TalkTalk customers – equivalent to the number of households with children – already chooses to turn on parental controls when offered an active choice at point of sale

TalkTalk is testing active choice solutions for existing customers and commits to getting one million families using HomeSafe by March 2012

TalkTalk has today welcomed recommendations from a Parliamentary report into Online Child Protection with plans to accelerate it ‘active choice’ plans. In March, following a recommendation made in the Government’s Bailey Review [1], TalkTalk became the first - and, to date, only - ISP to offer new customers an ‘active choice’ about whether they want to use parental controls in March. It has today revealed that when asked upfront if they wanted to turn on HomeSafe, TalkTalk’s unique network level security service, one in three new customers are choosing to turn on parental controls. This is roughly equivalent to the proportion of UK households with dependent children [2].

The announcement coincides with the publication of a report of a Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection, chaired by Claire Perry MP, which makes a number of recommendations to improve child internet safety, including offering active choice to existing customers.

TalkTalk has long welcomed Parliamentary and Government interest in this area and is demonstrating its commitment by announcing that it will begin testing new ways of prompting existing customers to make a choice about blocking pornography and other categories of internet content.

It is also committing to getting one million families to use HomeSafe, its unique network level security service, by March 2013. Following a heavyweight advertising and marketing campaign, over 350,000 families have activated HomeSafe to date.

Because HomeSafe is built into the broadband network itself every computer or device using the broadband connection is protected – be it laptops, PCs or gaming devices. One of the recommendations of the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry was that all ISPs should offer network level solutions like HomeSafe which allow parents to block access to a range of content, including pornography, gambling and violence across their whole home. Research carried out for TalkTalk in January found that 92% of households with children have more than one device connected to the internet, demonstrating the benefit of a network level solution.

"I have long believed that child internet safety is akin to road safety for children. Everyone needs to play a part, as they did in the 70s with the Green Cross Code, seat belt wearing and car seat use," said Dido Harding, chief executive of TalkTalk.

"We have been delighted with the number of new customers who are choosing to activate HomeSafe when prompted and we think it shows that active choice really works. One in three new customers choosing to turn on parental controls is equivalent to the proportion of UK households with children living in them. Already over 350,000 families are using HomeSafe and, by March 2013, we want to see this increase to one million."

"We also welcome the recommendation of the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry that calls for all ISPs to offer systems like HomeSafe. Our customers tell us that the fact that HomeSafe protects every device is really important to them."

The Independent Parliamentary Inquiry also calls for ISPs to provide better support for internet safety initiatives. TalkTalk is currently piloting its new internet safety resource with a local school in Brent which will then be rolled out nationwide. TalkTalk also regularly runs internet safety workshops for customers.

HomeSafe has now blocked 3.5 million web pages at the request of customers. Suicide and self-harm is the number one category of content that parents choose to block, followed by pornography and then weapons and violence.

1 Letting Children Be Children: the Report of an Independent Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, published on 6 June 2011.

2 38 per cent according to ONS Statistical Bulletin, 19th January 2012.