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TalkTalk has reaffirmed its commitment to ensuring children are safe online.

According to Tristia Harrison, Chief Executive of TalkTalk, what children watch and how they watch it is "changing faster than ever".

This, she said, is creating "huge challenges" for organisations involved in delivering content.

"The internet is at the heart of a lot of that change and today’s children can’t imagine a world without it," she commented.

Ms Harrison said companies such as TalkTalk must therefore adopt a safety-approach to product design, so children can benefit from the "best of the internet - the incredible innovation and creativity", but be shielded from "the worst of it".

One approach taken by TalkTalk has been the creation of aTV remote control designed especially for youngsters.

The TalkTalk Kids TV Remote was designed in consultation with more than 60 schoolchildren and lets youngsters with small hands find their favourite shows in moments.

With just one click of a button, users can open a special Kids Zone, where they can scroll through and select programmes including Pingu, Peppa Pig and Paw Patrol.

Parents have full control over what programmes are on display to their kids, while children are unable to leave the Kids Zone unless adults enter a code via the main TV remote.

Mums and dads can also schedule viewing hours, so kids are not able to stay up too late watching TV.

"It's an example of how industry can put the needs of children first, rather than putting the onus on parents alone to protect their families," Ms Harrison said. 

She went on to state that broadband providers should go beyond making their own products and services safer and work together to tackle some "underlying problems".

For instance, she noted that while TalkTalk, BT, Sky and Virgin Media all offer family-friendly content filters, parents do not always understand the online risks the filters are designed to tackle.

This, she said, is why the four companies have joined forces to create Internet Matters - a not-for-profit body designed to help parents keep their children safe online.

Ms Harrison added that TalkTalk needs to "think creatively" about what regulation is required for the digital age.

She stressed that her organisation has long been an advocate of self-regulation, with innovations such as parental features and the children's TV remote launched without government intervention. 

"We didn’t need to be told to do it," she said. "We wanted to do it because it was the right thing to do and our customers expect it."

However, Ms Harrison said ministers are right to look at introducing new rules, as outlined in the Internet Safety Green Paper, as "not all companies have been so quick to embrace their responsibilities".

"I suspect it’s going to make some companies uncomfortable, but that’s the point," she added.

"We need all companies to step up to the challenge."

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