In one week the Department for Education’s consultation on parental internet controls will close.
We know other groups have been organising their members to submit strong responses calling for Government to take control of the internet, enforcing a ‘default block’ option that would mean you’re not able to see some legal content without opt-ing in. Who would decide what is blocked is not known – already some political content and non-pornographic content is blocked by mobile phone operators as part of their ‘safety’ features. And no definition of ‘adult’ content has been offered by anyone promoting the idea, risking a dangerous slide into censorship. Equally dangerous, parents risk placing false confidence in technology to raise their children, assuming because the ‘filter’ is on, they don’t need to worry.
There’s also the issue – as we previously warned – that many of the network filters currently being considered require a significant level of monitoring and logging of our internet use, whereas device level filters do not.
We accept more needs to be done to protect children online – that’s why we’ve previously called for an industry funded helpline and website, where parents can get simple advice on how to install parental controls and manage what can be accessed. We’ve also called for the Active Choice system to be extended so you are prompted about child protection when you buy a new device, as well as buying a broadband service.
The majority of the public don’t want to see a default block system introduced, it drives children to find ways of avoiding the filters and it creates a false sense of security for parents. Technology is not a quick fix for social and family issues and it is not a substitute for parenting.
Don’t miss this chance to have your say.