EE, the UK’s largest mobile operator and part of BT Group, has launched ‘Set Up Safe’, a free new SMS service to help parents quickly and easily set up their child’s phone with safety features.
The service is for all pay monthly customers and provides parents with guidelines for their children’s online activity. This includes settings such as adult content lock, spend caps, preventing charges to bill, and blocking calls and texts to premium numbers, so parents can feel confident their child is safely using their phone outside the home as lockdown eases. This is part of EE’s wider strategy to help parents keep their children safe online on its network.
This comes as an EE survey1 reveals that lockdown has increased parents’ anxiety about their children’s safety online, with a quarter of parents saying their child now uses their phone at least once every half an hour. And while 35% of parents with children aged 10-17 believe their child’s phone usage will only increase as lockdown eases, nearly a third (31%) did not put any safety settings in place before giving their child a device.
Developed alongside Internet Matters, a not-for-profit helping keep families safe online, Set Up Safe offers parents a range of recommended age settings for their children’s mobile phone.
By texting ‘Set Up Safe’ to 150 from an EE device, parents can easily select their preference from the options provided over text. EE will then automatically apply these to the device to safely set up the phone with restricted usage, simplifying the process for the 51% of parents who previously found the process of adding safety features complicated and time consuming.
With research showing that 29% of parents are concerned about their child’s data usage now lockdown is easing and nearly a third wanting to monitor in app spending, EE’s Set Up Safe tool can help parents feel confident that their child is setting out safely into the ‘new normal’ with the parental controls that best match their family’s needs.
Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters, said: “While the connected world provides huge benefits to young people, there are undoubtedly risks, and therefore technical tools such as EE’s Set Up Safe go a long way to stop children seeing inappropriate content or having unwanted contact.
“We would always encourage parents to apply age-appropriate safety settings to their child’s devices as they help to create a digital environment where children can safely learn, create and socialise. But it’s essential parents don’t rely solely on technical tools as there is no substitute to having an open dialogue with your child from a very young age and staying in tune with their digital world. ”
Mat Sears, Consumer Corporate Affairs Director at EE said: “While technology is now playing a bigger role in family life than ever before, we understand that online safety is just one of many things parents will be thinking about as their children start to head out with lockdown restrictions easing. By providing this new guidance and support to parents, we’re hoping to ease some of these anxieties about online safety and lighten the load, by giving parents the confidence and understanding needed to help children enjoy a safe online experience.”
Step by step advice for Set Up Safe can be found on the EE website. Internet Matters also has a range of resources available on its website to help parents have conversations with their children on their online world.