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TalkTalk customers will be required to make a decision whether or not to activate the HomeSafe filtering tool on their broadband account.

After Sky announced it was turning its Sky Broadband Shield to the 'on' setting by default, TalkTalk is taking similar steps to protect young web users from adult content.

Since March 2012, all new TalkTalk broadband customers have been asked whether they want to activate HomeSafe as part of the sign-up process.

Alex Birtles, Head of External Comms at TalkTalk, said that, since then, the focus has been on asking existing customers whether they would like to use web filtering.

"We’ve been doing this by directing customers into their account settings, where they’ve been presented with an unavoidable choice," she noted.

"We pre-tick the ‘on’ option, but it’s the customer’s choice. Filters will only ever be applied if the customer has consented and they’re able to change their mind or edit their level of protection at any point."

Ms Birtles explained that "nearly all" of TalkTalk's broadband customers have made their decision, and only a "small proportion" is yet to do so.

To reach those people, TalkTalk has developed a ‘pop-up’ box which will appear when broadband customers try to reach any website that would be filtered by HomeSafe.

"The pop-up will present them with an unavoidable choice, with customers free to decide whether HomeSafe is right for them," she said.

Ms Birtles commented that TalkTalk is "very proud" of HomeSafe, which is helping parents to protect their family members on the internet.

She acknowledged that web filtering is "an emotive issue", and reiterated the importance of consumers making their own decision on whether to activate HomeSafe.

"We’re proud that TalkTalk is leading that debate and we’ll continue working hard to ensure our customers maximise the benefits of being online, but have the peace of mind that we’re helping them to do it safely," Ms Birtles stated.

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