UK: Petition for porn filters nears 100,000 signatures

Published 08 June 2012
A petition calling upon the Government to force internet service providers to make accessing pornography an adult only opt-in service has gathered more than 95,000 signatures.

The petition's organisers, SaferMedia and Premier Media Group, are aiming to reach 100,000 signatures before the petition is closed in a few weeks.

They argue that the filter would give parents greater control over what their children are viewing online and stop sexually explicit material coming into the home.

Major ISPs have resisted pressure to introduce the filter despite widespread concern about the impact pornography is having on children and young people in Britain.

TalkTalk is so far the only ISP to offer an opt-in filter to parents at network level. BT, Sky and Virgin have only agreed to offer customers the option of installing parental controls.

Google's head of UK public policy Sarah Hunter recently rejected the system, calling instead for more "training" for parents.

"Unfortunately for 14-year old boys, there is a limit on how you can protect them when they are actively searching for pornography," she said.

The Prime Minister is reportedly to consult on whether ISPs should be made to block adult material as a default for their customers.

The intervention follows a parliamentary inquiry chaired by Tory MP Claire Perry which concluded that the Government and ISPs need to do more to protect children from viewing unsuitable content online.

A leading American neuroscientist, Dr William Struthers, told MPs at the House of Commons last month that young people in Britain were "rampantly" accessing porn.

He warned that people who are exposed to sexually explicit material at a young age are more likely to act out what they see, become sexually active at a younger age, and have problems forming deep relationships with other people.

"They are not ready for the stimulation that an adult brain can handle," said Dr Struther.

"They can see it, they know how to do it, but they don't know how to emotionally respond to the consequences of those actions."

According to Psychologies Magazine, the single largest group of internet pornography consumers is children aged 12 to 17.

A YouGov poll last year found that 93% of women and 73% of men in the UK feel that the ease with which pornographic material can be viewed online is damaging to children.


On the web: www.safetynet.org.uk

Reprints

More News in World