Virgin Media has announced Web Safe, a new family-friendly set of parental controls. 

Web Safe lets parents apply age-appropriate filters to specific websites. It can be customised it and change the settings of Web Safe to suit the needs of their family and is a free, built-in feature of every Virgin Media connection.  

From today, new customers will be offered Web Safe when they install their broadband for the first time. Existing Virgin Media subscribers can also sign up for Web Safe now.

Parents and kids get Web Safe with Virgin Media’s filtering controls
Virgin Media's Switched on Parents hub offers advice on checking in on who your kids talk to online

Following in the footsteps of TalkTalk, Sky and BT, Web Safe is a so-called ‘whole home’ solution. This means that every desktop PC, laptop, tablet and phone connected to the Virgin Media Super Hub, whether it’s via Ethernet or WiFi, will be covered by Web Safe’s filters.

Virgin Media’s chief executive officer Tom Mockridge said: “With the power of Virgin Media’s network, we can ensure digital really does makes good things happen for our customers, the communities around us and the country. 

“Technology can help but we want every family to feel confident, informed and able to choose what online experience is right for them.” 

As well as launching Web Safe, Virgin Media has also set up Switched on Families, a new resource for parents and guardians. Switched on Families offers a range of advice on features including restricting access to specific content, online bullying and contacting people online.  

Virgin Media developed Switched on Families with help from F-Secure and family resource The Parent Zone. Vicki Shotbolt, CEO and Founder, The Parent Zone, said: “Switched on Families puts Virgin Media ahead of the game - it's the best content I've seen in this space for a long time. 

“The invaluable advice on this site will help empower parents to figure out what works for their family and how to best support their kids as they grow up."

The UK’s four biggest ISPs now all offer network-level parental controls. TalkTalk launched HomeSafe in 2012, setting the bar for whole home filtering in the UK. Following government pressure, Sky launched Broadband Shield while BT released its own Parental Controls, expanding on pre-existing family safety measures. 

Culture secretary Maria Miller added: “Parents will now be able to make a simple choice to activate family friendly filters that will cover all devices connected to the family’s home internet.” 

All current Virgin Media customers will be prompted to use or turn off Web Safe as they see fit by the end of 2014. 

Image: dichohecho/Flickr