Huffpost UK uk

Internet Porn: Parents To Be Asked If Adult Content Should Be Automatically Banned On Computers And Smartphones

Posted: Updated:
Print Article
SMARTPHONE
Parents will be asked whether internet pornography should be automatically banned on computers and smartphones, ministers have said. | Alamy

Parents will be asked whether internet pornography should be automatically banned on computers and smartphones, ministers have said.

The internet porn industry is worth an estimated £3 billion a year but campaigners have argued it is too easy for children to access explicit adult content.

Children's minister Tim Loughton said the internet industry needed to raise its game to help families control what their children saw online.

It comes as more than 100,000 people signed-up to a Safetynet campaign calling for the Government to introduce legislation to ensure internet service providers filtered pornography at source.

"We have always been clear we would turn up the heat on industry if it did not make fast enough progress," Mr Loughton said.

But bringing in an automatic filter risks "lulling parents into a false sense of security", he warned.

"There is no silver bullet to solve this.

"No filter can ever be 100% foolproof.

"There can never be any substitute for parents taking responsibility for how, when and where their children use the internet.

"The answer lies in finding ways to combine technical solutions with better education, information and, if necessary regulation further down the line."

The 10-week consultation will ask parents and businesses for their views on the best way to shield children from internet pornography and other potentially harmful sites, such as those which promote suicide, anorexia, gambling, self-harm and violence.

Views on preventing online sexual grooming and cyber-bullying will also be sought, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

Parents will be asked for their views on three possible systems - one where users have to "opt in" to see adult sites, or one where customers are presented with an unavoidable choice about whether or not they want filters and blocks installed.

The third option would combine the two systems, enabling customers to block some content automatically and then be given a choice to unblock them as they wish.

It comes after David Cameron said earlier this year the Government needed to look at whether internet services or devices might come with a filter on as their default setting or have a combination of a filter and an "active choice" by the customer.

One in five 11 to 16-year-olds have seen potentially harmful user-generated content online, rising to a third of 14 to 16-year-old girls, figures from Ofcom's Children's Media Literacy Tracker 2010 and EU Kids Online II survey showed.

Andrew Flanagan, chief executive of the NSPCC, said: "Industry has done a huge amount in recent years and active choice is a step in the right direction.

"But long-term we back the next step which is the introduction of an opt-in filtering system for all internet accounts in the UK, if necessary, supported by Government regulation.

"This will mean all new internet accounts will default automatically to a setting that blocks access to adult content.

"Over-18s can then request for this to be removed if they wish."

But he added: "No system is ever 100% effective and no filter will automatically stop explicit images or cyber bullying sent between young people.

"Fundamental to any approach is a strong emphasis on supporting parents in talking to their children and education for young people themselves on how to stay safe and treat each other with respect."

Around the Web

I've no idea how much money we make from advertising alongside ...

Internet porn: PM steps in to 'safeguard children' by saying - Daily Mail

Views sought on default porn ban

Ban on obscene websites: Internet users decline by 20% in Pakistan

Kid porn ban hits Dem snag

Ban on porn causes drop in internet subscribers