BT allows parents to block access to LGBTI, sexual health websites

Parental controls blocking software offers parents the option to prevent their children from accessing sex education, including advice on health, and LGBT issues

BT allows parents to block access to LGBTI, sexual health websites
20 December 2013

British internet service provider BT is offering parents the option to remove access to LGBTI and sexual health websites.

Their parental controls blocking software offers parents the option to prevent their children from accessing sex education, including advice on health and LGBTI issues.

According to the options set out on their site, there are some 17 different categories of material that parents may choose to block, including pornography, gambling and drugs.  Also up for blocking is a category titled ‘sex education’. 

Parents who opt to block material in this category ‘will block sites where the main purpose is to provide information on subjects such as respect for a partner, abortion, gay and lesbian lifestyle, contraceptives, sexually transmitted diseases and pregnancy’.

This came to light after concerns some filtering packages might be ‘mistakenly’ filtering LGBTI sites.

Twitter user Andrew Emmerson, who did some further investigating, discovered the description of BT’s parental controls on the website and promptly made this fact public.

Several were shocked by the discovery, pointing out many young people live in homophobic households and are often the ones who are most in need of advice.

Equalities educator Alice Hoyle, who blogs at Sex Edukation and whose specialisms include HIV education, tackling sexual bullying, and LGBT school issues, described it as ‘shocking’.

She said: ‘Young people have a right to access such information on the internet, and good parents would never try to block them from doing so.’

This sentiment was echoed by Jane Carnall, who manages the community website for LGBT.co.uk.

She told Gay Star News: ‘Responsible parents will not want their children denied access to information that can protect their health.

‘BT Care’s policy of allowing parents to filter out sex education sites would block young adults from accessing essential information to protect themselves and their partners, including information available on NHS sites.’

In a statement to Gay Star News, BT said: ‘There has been an accidental mis-description of the way our parental controls operate.

‘Some parents of very young children may wish to block sex education material. One of our optional filters does just that. It does not discriminate between heterosexual and LGBT content.

‘We apologise for any confusion that has been caused. We shall revise the way we describe the optional sex education filters available for parents of very young children.

‘The filters in question are not turned on by default, but are activated only if chosen by parents.’

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Unsafe haven: Gay refugees in South Africa

With South Africa facing a flood of gay and trans refugees, a creaking asylum system is exposing them to corruption, homophobia and the risk of attack
No thumbnail available

Speaker Quinn marries her long term partner

New York City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn marries Kim M. Catullo
9 One Direction fans who are convinced the band are breaking up so they can have gay sex together
No thumbnail available

‘That’s so gay’ has traumatic effect on students, study says

University of Michigan study has found the effect of homophobic bullying can last a lifetime
No thumbnail available

Star Wars gamers pay to play gay on just one planet far, far away

New extension on MMORPG will segregate same-sex relationships to planet Makeb
No thumbnail available

Burundi man flees, in hiding after gay sex arrest

Man arrested for gay sex faces three months to two years in prison
No thumbnail available

Gaga, Dancing With The Stars and Smash honored at GLAAD media awards

LGBT stars and straight allies descend on New York for first of three-part ceremony
No thumbnail available
No thumbnail available

Renee Richards on why it's easier for Bruce Jenner to transition to female than it was for her

'A person like that can have a sex change and be just as accepted as an entertainer or a TV star or something like that afterwards'
No thumbnail available

Campaigners call for UK's first LGBT museum

A popular exhibition has sparked debate about the possibility of creating the first permanent museum dedicated to the history of gay rights