Sky has announced a new app and add-on for its broadband service that is designed to help families control their internet use without having to navigate multiple screens of settings.
Powered by the tech used by online safety firm Circle and customised in partnership with Internet Matters, Sky Broadband Buddy sits on Sky's broadband routers and works with a dedicated application for iOS and Android. The app enables multiple, intuitive controls to restrict or different family profiles and devices – even when they are not connected to the home network.
There are two sides to the app; one for parents, one for kids. A parent can use their app to create profiles and set individual limits on internet usage for each one.
That includes age ratings: PG, 13 and 18. When chosen, different sites and content will be automatically allowed per profile. Parents can also further customise the options, by selecting or deselecting different apps, websites and services, such as Netflix, Facebook, Instagram or YouTube.
Time limits, scheduled use per day and rewards can also be assigned through the main parent side of the app.
The kids side of the app is more limited in that it provides statistics and notifications for the user. For example, if a child has completed his or her homework in time, the parent can reward them with extra internet time by clicking on their app and a notification appears on the child's device.
Where Sky Broadband Buddy differs from many other parental control services and apps is that, because of the link with the router, it can restrict any and all internet-connected devices in the home.
Sky Broadband Buddy is an add-on to its Sky Broadband packages and is available for all existing and new customers. An introductory price of £2.50 per month will be added to the broadband package cost, on an 18-month contract.
The price rises to £5 per month after 18-months. Existing customers will need to take out a new contract to add the service onto their current plan.