Parents want default porn block, after all

How young is too young? Four in ten parents want five-year-olds taught about pornography
How young is too young? Four in ten parents want five-year-olds taught about pornography
Alex Stevenson By

The number of parents supporting a default ban on all pornographic websites has jumped, according to new research.

Last year 35% of parents who responded to a government consultation on the issue favoured a default ban on websites featuring adult material, compared to 13% who wanted parents to tailor their own restrictions and 15% who wanted a combination of the two.

Now a survey of 1,009 responses from parents of children aged between five and 15 years old by Research Now has found 90% believing all equipment which offers internet access should require an 'opt in' option to view adult material.

The new poll, for the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) union, also concluded that 42% of parents believe schools should begin teaching pupils about the dangers of pornography from as young as five or six years old.


That number is overshadowed by the 51% who believed pornography should not be mentioned in classrooms until children become teenagers, but is being viewed as a significant shift.

It follows a motion passed at the Association of Teachers and Lecturers' annual conference stating that schools must do more to ensure pornography is not seen as 'normal'.

"There is no place for explicit materials in the classroom or school, even in the course of teaching about their dangers, but many young people are exposed to such materials on the internet and phones," general secretary Russell Hobby said.

"In the face of this young people need to know how to cope with and avoid these distorted views of relationships."

Last December ministers ruled out an outright block on internet pornography, saying the measure is impractical and unpopular.

Its response to the consultation responses concluded a blanket ban would not be wholly effective, might end up 'over-blocking' and does not address other online problems like cyberbullying and grooming.

Eighty per cent of parents said they were confident or very confident they would be able to protect their children from explicit images online, the NAHT survey found.

Hobby said it was "reassuring" that parents accepted they need help from schools to tackle the issue, however.

He added: "In a fast-paced communications environment that can present pupils with confusing messages, few parents believe there is an option to pretend it isn't happening."

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