Parents will find it easier to protect their children against internet pornography under new government proposals that will prompt them to tailor settings to choose what youngsters can access online.

Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to act against a "silent attack on innocence" and shield children from the "worries and complexities of adulthood".

Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Cameron said that under the proposals parents will be automatically prompted to tailor their internet filters when switching on new computers if they declare there are children in the house.

david cameron

David Cameron vowed to act against a "silent attack on innocence"

Parents will find it easier to protect their children against internet pornography under new government proposals that will prompt them to tailor settings to choose what youngsters can access online.

The prompts would show parents how to restrict access to social networking websites like Facebook, Mr Cameron said, to block sites to younger children but allow access to older siblings, or how to ban certain sites altogether.

Parents would also have the option of simply repeatedly clicking "OK" on the filter set-up, a process which would automatically ban things like pornography or self-harm websites.

And internet providers would have to verify the age of the person setting the controls, meaning children can't set the filters themselves.

An option of having "default on" filters for new computers was not suitable, the Prime Minister said, as this led to the blocking of too wide a range of websites.

Mr Cameron said: "This is a kind of 'default on' for houses with children; it's just that it adds much more control for parents about exactly what is restricted."

He added: "Let me reiterate the key points: with our new system, every parent will be prompted to protect their child online. If they don't make choices, protection will be automatically on.

"No other government has taken such radical steps before. And once all this is in place, Britain will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world - bar none."

Mr Cameron has appointed the MP Claire Perry, an internet safety campaigner, to implement the proposals and get service providers on board.

He said: "The fact that so many children have visited the darkest corners of the internet is not just a matter of concern - it is utterly appalling.

"A silent attack on innocence is under way in our country today and I am determined that we fight it with all we've got..

"It’s not just about the internet, or modern technology – it’s about childhood.

"These should be distinct and precious years, full of security and love, untainted by the worries and complexities of adulthood."