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14 August 2012

Opportunity to protect children from online porn

Opportunity to protect children from online porn

A government consultation on parental internet control presents a "historic opportunity" to ensure children's safety online, according to Alliance member organisations.

CARE is encouraging Christians in the UK to respond to a government consultation which seeks views from parents on proposals to help them keep their children safe online.

Research has suggested that as many as one in three under-10s have viewed online pornography and now the Department for Education is looking at taking steps to better protect children from such content.

CARE's head of public affairs Nola Leach said: "Until recently, the government had been very reluctant to take any substantial action to address the concerns of parents about the safety of their children online. When CARE started working in this area in 2009/10 with amendments to the previous government's Digital Economy Bill there was strong opposition to enacting any robust measures.

"However, in recent months we have witnessed a significant change of approach which opens the door for really significant, historic advances in the way children are protected online."

CARE is urging the government to consider an opt-in model which makes pornography only accessible to an adult, who has to go through an age-verification procedure to show they are over-18.

Safermedia is also partnering with Alliance member Premier to run a petition to force internet service providers to make accessing porn an opt-in service.

Safermedia said: "We believe children and young people should have the right to surf the internet safely – free from exposure to pornography and other harmful content. Internet service providers can offer the solution by adopting network-level filters which automatically block pornography by default. This would still give adults aged 18 and over the choice to opt-in to view adult material, whilst ensuring the best protect for children and young people online."

Don Horrocks, head of public affairs at the Alliance, said: "The protection of children who go online should be a top priority for all parents. We now have the opportunity afforded by a critically important consultation from the government and I hope that as many parents as possible will respond by demanding nothing less than full legal regulation. CARE provides an ideal briefing format to enable appropriate speedy responses."

The consultation is open until 6 September. Read CARE's guidance on filling out the consultation.