MPs demand porn 'opt-in' strategy to protect children

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Sexual images are increasingly available to children online
Sexual images are increasingly available to children online

Internet users who want to look at hardcore pornography online would need to proactively opt-in to an unblocked service, under plans proposed by a committee of MPs.

The independent parliamentary inquiry on online child protection said all internet contracts should come with a blanket filter preventing access to adult material which users could then sign out of.

"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," said Tory MP Claire Perry.

"It's time that Britain's internet service providers, who make more than £3 billion a year from selling internet access services, took on more of the responsibility to keep children safe."


Experts warn that parents are failing to keep up with the technological developments required to prevent their children watching porn, with the use of online filters actually falling in recent years from 49% to 39%.

Once content filters were downloaded, many did not realise they had to update the software, meaning they were often outsmarted by their children.

Internet service providers are categorically opposed to the move and many refused to speak publicly to the committee.

They warn that a blanket filter would slow down internet speeds and be overly draconian.

But experts are concerned that today's children are watching ever-harder pornography from earlier and earlier ages.

The inquiry also suggested ministers receive powers to take action against internet service providers who fail to implement effective solutions to the problem.


 

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