This week the Culture Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, announced that he will be including a measure in the new Communications Act to ensure that it is easier to block adult and age-restricted material from the internet. Mr Hunt said he wants to see ‘services that are safe for my children’ and he proposes all consumers are offered an active choice about parental controls either at the point of purchase or when they activate an account.
A recent Ofcom survey found the number of parents using filtering software had dropped from about 50 per cent to 40 per cent so this move comes not a moment too soon.
Research has also shown that not all parents are aware of the controls currently available and that they should be better signposted. We understand the Government has not ruled out also coming up with a way of getting existing users to make the same active choice.
Although this is most welcome news, these controls will only be effective if they are applied to every device used for accessing the internet including tablets, gaming consoles and mobile phones.
That is why we will continue our campaign to get Internet Service Providers to block adult material at source. This would be the best way to stop children accessing potentially harmful material and would not stop adults who wish to see it from opting-in to access it.