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Sky filters and parental controls

By Aaron Howdle | Monday, November 2nd 2020

Many of us are anxious about what our family, particularly our children may stumble upon online. Whether we are worried about scams, online bullying, sites promoting self-harm or pornography. We would like to control what shows up on our screens.

Luckily most broadband providers offer a decent suite of online protection and Sky is no exception. Sky broadband has some fantastic safety and security features. But what are they and what settings are available to manage the content flowing through your house? In this guide we will take a look at the safety and security features offered by Sky.

Sky broadband safety and security

Sky has implemented some great safety and security features for its broadband customers. Sky Broadband Shield incorporates anti phishing measures, configurable parental controls and warns you about malicious websites. In addition to these features, Sky provides the McAfee Internet Security Suite to help you keep viruses and Malware at bay.

Sky Broadband Shield

Let’s take a look at some of the features of Sky Broadband Shield

  • Advanced protection – Which helps to defend against unwanted attacks, such as viruses, phishing or malware-infected sites
  • Safe Search – Software that helps to protect young people from adult content. Filters remove explicit content from search engine results so you can feel safer allowing your children to browse the internet
  • Works on all devices connected to WiFi – meaning your children are protected whether they’re on their phone, tablet, or games console
  • Three age rating settings – Control which content is available to users of your broadband connection by choosing between PG, 13 or 18 age settings
  • Automatically switch to 18 age-rating – Choose times when you want the age restrictions lifted, so you can watch grown-up films when the kids are in bed
  • Customise which websites are blocked – change your settings to block or allow specific websites or categories

More parental controls, including controls for mobile devices can be added using the Sky Broadband Buddy app. This app allows individual mobile devices to have their own age restrictions and filters. The app is available to customers who upgrade their package to include Sky Broadband Boost. Parental control features are covered in more detail later in this guide.

Sky Virus protection

Sky customers can download the McAfee Internet Security Suite. This software protects your PC from viruses and malware attacks. It will detect, quarantine and block viruses and malware. It is necessary to download and install McAfee Internet Security Suite to protect your computer.

Sky recommends removing any existing anti-virus software from your computer or device before installing McAfee Internet Security Suite. It should automatically remove earlier versions of McAfee from your system before installing, but if your software is less than six months old it is a good idea to remove it yourself before installation.

McAfee Internet Security Suite includes Personal Firewall Plus, which is designed to prevent miscreants from accessing your personal data. From time to time you may find websites like internet banking are also blocked by Personal Firewall Plus. If this happens you can remove the relevant websites from the blocked list. It is easy to do and instructions can be found on the Sky website.

Parental Controls: Sky Broadband Shield

Sky and other internet providers made a commitment to the government to offer parental controls to all of its users. Sky Broadband Shield offers the ability to control the type of content available through your internet connection with a set of filters which will affect every device in your home. However that is not the end of the story. You can also install the Sky Broadband Buddy on the devices in your home. Using this app, you can set individual age settings for different devices. In order to get this app you need to upgrade your broadband package to include Sky Broadband Boost.

When setting the household age restrictions on Sky Broadband Shield, three different age settings can be chosen. Each setting will block content which is inappropriate for children below that age. Users can choose between the 18, which protects from malicious websites and phishing but allows most other content through, PG or 13. The setting you choose will apply to all devices connected to your broadband. Filters can also be set on a timer, so you can watch 18+ movies when the kids are in bed. It may also be a good idea to set up timed access at the 13 age rating if you have kids who want to play games consoles. Xbox live and the Playstation Network are both blocked under the PG age setting.

Sky Broadband Shield categorises sites by the type of content they offer, allowing parents to filter out content they don’t want children to see. In addition, you can choose to block specific sites you find inappropriate.

Sky Broadband Shield is automatically set to 13 when you join Sky. To change the setting, visit the Sky Broadband Shield section of the Sky Website. You will need to log in to change your settings.

Parental controls for mobile: Sky Broadband Buddy

Sky has produced this app for installation on mobile devices. To get this app you need to upgrade your broadband package to include Sky Broadband Boost. It brings the security of Sky Broadband Shield to mobile devices and allows individual, age appropriate settings on each device. Sky Broadband Buddy gives you control over:

  • What they see online – Choose an age setting for the device with content filtered out according to the following settings; PG, 13, 18 or None (no filtering). You can also view a history of which sites have been accessed from the device
  • Time spent online – set time limits, bed-time, off-time, rewards and pause their broadband access
  • Location – This service also requires the Sky Kids app. You will be able to see your child’s current location as long as their device is switched on and set up correctly. Sky advise parents to talk to their children if they intend to use this feature

These features can also be switched off for adults who want unfettered access to the internet. Location settings will send a notification to the user’s phone to ensure they know their location is being tracked.

Frequently asked questions

Does Sky Broadband Shield work on mobile phones?

It will work on mobile devices used in the home via your home broadband connection. However, if you want your children protected when they leave the house you will need the Sky Kids and Sky Broadband Buddy apps.

Can I choose which devices are secured using Sky Broadband Shield?

Not with the standard Sky Broadband Shield. It protects all devices in your home with the same age-restriction settings. If you want personalised settings for each device you will need to install the Sky Broadband Buddy app on your devices. The app is available to customers who add Sky Broadband Boost to their package.

How do I turn off parental controls?

You can change age restriction settings by visiting the broadband section in your account on the Sky website.

Will Sky Broadband Shield work if my child is at a friend’s house?

No. If your child is logged into someone else’s Wi-Fi your settings will not protect them since it only applies to your home Sky broadband connection. If you want kids to be protected away from home you will need to upgrade your package with Sky Broadband Boost and get the Sky Broadband Buddy app, which features similar protection to Sky Broadband Shield on mobile devices.

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