There’s an interesting article in The Daily Mail today saying that four out of five 16-year-old boys and girls regularly access porn online while one in three ten-year-olds has seen explicit material.
The statistics come from a report for the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection, which has also found that aside from accessing internet pornography, many kids are looking at websites showing extreme violence or promoting self-harm and anorexia. “This is hugely worrying” says MP Clare Perry, Chair of the Inquiry. “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.”
Which is why she is calling for Britain’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs make more than £3 billion a year from selling internet access services), to take more responsibility to keep children safe, and also for the Government to send a strong message that this is what we all expect.
From October the four largest providers Sky, BT, TalkTalk and Virgin, will offer all new customers the chance to block porn from their computers automatically as part of the sign-up process. However TalkTalk are the only provider offering controls to block explicit material on all devices such as smartphones, Xboxes, playstations and iPads within the house. If you’re an existing company you need to contact your ISP company and ask what filters they can give you.
Of course, even if you get porn blocked there are a wealth of other sites that you need to ensure your kids stay away from, which is hard if like many parents you feel you lack the right information and education on internet safety. Or just can’t be there watching what your kids are doing all the time. If so, I’d really recommend heading over to Think U Know and Get Safe Online.
Think U Know is run by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre, it will give you the latest information on the sites your kids like to visit, mobiles and new technology as well as dividing the advice into age appropriate areas. It will also tell you what’s good, what’s not and what you can do about it.
So do you know what your kids are watching online? Has anything they’ve seen freaked you out? How have you handled it? Let us know.