EE launches child phone safety SMS service

Tyrone Stewart

EE has teamed up with not-for-profit organisation Internet Matters to setup a free SMS service to help parents to set up their child’s phone with safety features.

The ‘Set Up Safe’ service, available to all EE pay monthly customers, provides parents with guidance on how they can manage their child’s online activity, including setting an adult content lock, placing spending caps, preventing charges to bill, and blocking calls and texts to premium numbers.

By texting ‘Set Up Safe’ to 150, parents can select their safety preferences and have them automatically applied to the device by EE.

“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,” said Mat Sears, Consumer Corporate Affairs Director at EE. “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.”

The launch of the service comes in response to an EE survey which found that 25 per cent of children now use their phones at least once every half an hour – and 35 per cent of parents with children aged between 10 and 17 feel this usage is only going to increase as lockdown eases. Meanwhile, 31 per cent of parents did not put any safety settings in place before giving their child a smartphone.

“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,” said Carolyn Bunting, CEO of Internet Matters.

“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.”