Claranet Soho has launched Childsafe, a new opt-in network-level filtering service for its customers. Using a set of simple controls, Claranet Soho users can set up a bespoke set of blocks to restrict access to things like chatrooms, social networking sites and adult content.
In a first for UK ISP’s Claranet Soho’s Childsafe also allows you to block access to IM services like Instant Messenger and Skype, as well as restricting access to Facebook.
Jason Keen, Director, Claranet Soho, stated: “This is the only service on the market that allows parents who are less technically skilled to have confidence that their home Internet connection is protected.”
Keen also spoke of users being able to sign up to ‘channels’ of blocks, set up by schools, religious bodies and NGOs. These so-called ‘Claranet Guardians’ can recommend sites and content while advising on which sites to block.
“Subscribers can even create their own channel of content by simply selecting their own categories. Put simply, this means that a single, non-technical decision is all that is required to have a safe home internet,” says Keen.
Claranet Soho Childcare: One-click opt-in protection
Claranet Soho’s Childcare looks on paper to be the most comprehensive opt-in filter system we’ve seen.
With over 450 million categorised URLs and 6 billion web pages checked, the levels of protection sounds wide-reaching. There’s over 140 separate groups of sites that can be blocked or unblocked simply by ticking a check box.
Claranet Soho says that even under these 140 sections, individual sites can be blocked and unblocked easily. So if a site has been incorrectly flagged as harmful (or you don’t deem it to be harmful) you can unblock it, or vice versa.
"If all social media is blocked, this would include sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Bebo, Flickr etc," a Claranet Soho spokesperson explained. "But if parents decided that they wanted to have access to Facebook then they can override this and select that Facebook is accessible but the other social networking sites remain blocked."
With the ability to restrict access to specific social media and chat services, Childsafe should be effective in helping to prevent online bullying.
Claranet Soho’s Childcare follows in the footsteps of TalkTalk’s HomeSafe which provides a similar level of service.
HomeSafe was hailed as having several hundred thousand active users, but was recently revealed to be not exactly fool-proof or perfect. While shuttering access to certain, more well known adult sites, other sites showing nude imagery weren’t censored.
We understand that a ‘continuing review of URLs is ongoing to add new blocked sites to the URL list,’ which of course you’ll be able to block and unblock as you see fit. This seems like less of a blanket approach and more of a user-tailored solution which could prove popular.
UPDATE: Claranet Soho got back to us to reiterate that parents have the power to block individual URLs, meaning should anything slip through the net it can be dealt with quickly. We've also updated the above paragraph to include the quote from a spokesperson.