EE has added a new feature, known as Set Up Safe, to all of its Pay Monthly customers nationwide. The free service is designed to help parents quickly set-up safety features on their children’s smartphones, including a block on pornography and other adult content, spending caps, and a block on calls and texts to premium phone numbers.
You’ll also be able to restrict all third-party charges to the mobile phone bill, such as in-app purchases, gaming, quizzes, entering competitions, voting on television shows.
EE says it hopes the new feature is designed so that “parents can feel confident their child is safely using their phone outside the home as lockdown eases” and is part of a wider strategy to ensure younger users on the BT-owned network are safe from inappropriate material.
The Set Up Safe system was developed by EE alongside Internet Matters – a prominent non-profit that helps to keep families safe online. When you begin the Set Up Safe process, it will offer parents a range of recommended age settings for their children’s phone. This will preconfigure a number of settings – and save you the hassle of scrolling through endless options.
If you’re already on a Pay Monthly contract with EE, you can kickstart the set-up process by texting ‘”Set Up Safe” to 150 from your EE device. You will be asked to respond with your preferences for the service over text, so don’t start the process minutes before you board a flight and lose mobile signal for the next couple of hours.
Once you’ve decided on the level of restrictions to be applied, EE will automatically enact the changes to your children’s account by midnight. EE claims it designed the process to be as headache-free as possible after research showed that 51 percent of parents said they had previously found the process of adding safety features to keep their children safe online to be “complicated and time consuming.”
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Speaking about the new addition to EE customers, Internet Matters CEO Carolyn Bunting 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.”
Meanwhile, Consumer Corporate Affairs Director at EE, Mat Sears added: “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.”
It’s worth noting that EE cannot add a spending cap on out-of-contract charges to your children’s phone bill if their phone plan started before October 1, 2018. All of the other restrictions enabled by telling EE the age of your child will work as expected.