Exclusive interview with Rugby & Strictly star Austin Healey on living with 5 women & parental control

Enjoy this exclusive interview with ex  England and Lions Rugby Union international and father of four daughters, aged between six and 13 years, Austin Healey, who has recently become the face of a publicity campaign for BT Parental Controls.



Q: You have four daughters. How do you keep them in control?
I’m definitely outnumbered but I do keep an eye on my daughters. It’s important to make sure they are safe more than anything else, so the main thing is making sure they’re safe online. As well as having BT Parental Controls working across all of our devices we have a network of friends who keep an eye on each other’s children online. It’s not very cool to have your dad follow you on Instagram so I follow my friends’ children to make sure they’re safe and my friends follow my girls to make sure they’re safe and we keep each other updated if we see anything to be worried about.

Q: What has been the biggest challenge in raising your daughters?
Peace of mind, there’s at least one minute in every day where you worry about something.

Q: What is your parenting style?
Mixed – I’m mainly the good cop and try to be jovial and fun. I’m not at all afraid of embarrassing my children, even if that’s pretending to be a monkey in a shopping centre, but if I need to be bad cop the girls know they need to watch out!

Q: How much do they use the internet on mobile devices for entertainment?
My daughters are more internet savvy than me! They use the internet for everything from YouTube videos (especially total fail videos!) to TV channels. We have a lot of devices in our house, even five years ago I had this vision that we would have one computer and the children would take their turn in one room and we would watch them at all time but these days that’s just not feasible. You can’t watch four children across all their different devices all the time which is why having Parental Controls in place across your whole network is so important. I trust my daughters not to go looking for anything bad online, and know that they use it for fun and for research, but I need to know they are protected from accidentally seeing something they shouldn’t

Q: How much screening time is too much for children?
I’m not sure there’s a set amount of time, it depends what they need to do. For example if they are researching a homework project then they will need to be on the computer, but I try to make sure they are balanced. We love playing loads of outdoor games and it’s important to make sure all of their homework is finished as well before they’re allowed to play on the computer or watch TV

Q: What type of edutainment do you opt for?
All of the apps my girls use are educational in some way, the twins do a lot of maths and number puzzles and Daisy loves taking IQ tests. Even without realising it so many of the games are helping children with their non-verbal reasoning.

You were a very good dancer during Strictly Come Dancing. What was your favourite dance and why?
My favourite dance was the Tango, mainly because I seem to remember Craig gave me a 9!

Q: Do you and your wife plan to have more children? If so would you like a son to pass on your rugby knowledge to?
There’ll be no more children in the Healey household.

Q: Would you be happy if your daughters took up and interest in rugby?
I’d be happy for them to do anything that makes them happy as long as they’re safe. My daughters do play a lot of sport but none has yet shown a strong interest in rugby. Women’s rugby has developed so much since the World Cup and is a great sport to watch.

Q: If you hadn’t become a rugby player what other sport / job would you have considered going into?
Anything I enjoyed really, at one point I was down to be an RAF pilot. These days I really get a kick out of being involved in a variety of businesses.

Q: If you were Mayor of London for the day what would you do to improve life in the capital?
I’d tidy it up a bit – every time I’m down in London I think there seems to be a lot of rubbish and not many bins so I’d make sure everything was cleaned up. 


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