A cross-party parliamentary has concluded that the government and internet service providers need to do more to stop children accessing pornography and websites showing extreme violence.
The inquiry called on the government to back moves for stronger filters of adult content and also recommended that the government appoint an internet safety tsar.
Their report, according to the Daily Mail, said that six out of ten children download adult material because their parents have not installed filters. The use of protective filters in homes has fallen from 49 per cent to 39 per cent in the last three years.
They concluded that parents were often outsmarted by their web-savvy children and felt unconfident in updating and downloading content filters. Many parents were ‘oblivious’ to the type of material available on the internet and were often shocked when they realised the content that children were accessing.
Claire Perry, the Tory MP who chaired the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry on Online Child Protection, said: ‘While parents should be responsible for their children’s online safety, in practice, people find it difficult to put content filters on the plethora of internet-enabled devices in their homes.It’s time that Britain’s internet service providers, who make more than £3billion a year from selling internet access services, took on more of the responsibility to keep children safe.’
The inquiry called for internet service providers to offer ‘one-click filtering’ for all devices within a year. This would block out adult content for all domestic broadband users and stop them accessing pornography on mobiles and iPads as well as PCs and laptops.
All the big four UK ISPs, BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin, have agreed to offer all new subscribers the option to install parental controls.
TalkTalk is the only major UK ISP so far to have implemented a network level filtering system which offers parental controls for all devices that are connected via the home broadband service.
For those who wish to protect their children from pornography I have posted some advice on the best way of doing it from a Christian doctor colleague friend on this blog.
There is also an excellent article on a Christian approach to the issue in CMF’s journal Triple Helix. The main points are as follows:
'The ready availability of sexual images on the internet has led to an explosion in pornography use and addiction and Christians are not immune from the pressures. By offering stimulation without consequences and intimacy without responsibility, pornography brings unreal and damaging expectations into relationships. Furthermore, by encouraging unfaithful thoughts, the use of porn clearly violates God's commandments and undermines marriage. Warnings from the Old Testament prophets are chillingly relevant today. Christians need to recognise the risks of pornography, seek God's forgiveness for involvement and embrace practical measures that will help them resist the temptation to get involved.'
I was surprised to learn at a church seminar last night that the biggest users of pornography are actually men in the 35-55 age group with salaries over £45,000.
In terms of practical advice (adapted from Christian Viewpoint for Men) I’d recommend the following:
•Place the highest level of filter on your internet.
•Only view the internet in an open place.
•Find an accountability partner to discuss your progress with honestly.
•Install a programme that sends your weekly website hits to your accountability partner (Covenant Eyes is particularly recommended)