Economic Interests, Political Interests & Internet Ideology versus Child Safety Online
“Our Inquiry found that many children are easily accessing internet pornography as well as other websites showing extreme violence or promoting self-harm and anorexia. This is hugely worrying. 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, plus families lack the right information and education on internet safety.
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, and the Government needs to send a strong message that this is what we all expect“.
1. The Government should urgently review the implementation plans for “Active Choice” and press for an accelerated implementation timetable, more clarity on
installation targets for all customers, and funding commitments from ISPs.
2. ISPs should provide better support for internet safety education and initiatives such as ParentPort and improve signposting for these services from their own web domains.
3. Government and industry representatives should draw up guidelines for improving the communication of existing internet safety settings, improving training for retailers, developing a family friendly kite-marking scheme for manufacturers and retailers and improving signposting to pre-installed security settings during device configuration.
4. ISPs should be tasked with rolling out single account network filters for domestic broadband customers that can provide one click filtering for all devices connected to a home internet connection within 12 months.
5. The Government should launch a formal consultation on the introduction of an Opt-In content filtering system for all internet accounts in the UK. The most effective way to reduce overall development cost and create the most flexible solution would be for ISPs to work together to develop a self-regulated solution.
6. Public Wi-Fi provision should also be filtered in this way otherwise home-based controls will be easily circumvented.
7. The Government should also seek backstop legal powers to intervene should the ISPs fail to implement an appropriate solution.
8. Finally, the Government should consider the merits of a new regulatory structure for online content, with one regulator given a lead role in the oversight and monitoring of internet content and in improving the dissemination of existing internet safety education materials and resources such as ParentPort.