Virgin Media are the last of the big four UK ISPs to turn on content filtering. Content filtering blocks access to websites that contain pornography, drug use, violence and self harm types of content to protect children and vulnerable users. New Virgin Media customers will be asked whether they want the blocking service switched on or off with their account and aim to give all existing customers this choice by the end of 2014. The Virgin system works at the customers gateway (router) so that all wired and wireless devices connected are protected against accessing this type of blocked material.
This change has been implemented as part of a government mandate however some ISPs have been criticised for over-zealous filtering of websites that contain information on abuse and helpline type sites. Virgin claim they are working on a more customisable system that will allow parents to decide which materials they deem inappropriate.
Virgin have launched this system along side their "Switched On Families" program which offers parents support and advice on the subject. Managing the use of the internet in the home is becoming more of a concern for parent and guardians. This service provides parents with information about what to watch out for at the same time as offering children fun activities and learning opportunities.