The Prime Minister (PM), David Cameron, has backed proposals that will enforce ISPs to block adult content on the Internet from being made available to children. The report from Reg Bailey, Chief Executive of Mother's Union, a Christian Charity, looks at ways to help stop the commercialisation and sexualisation of children.
The report looks at all aspects of media and society in which the sexualisation of children is apparent, and encourages industry and regulators to act to help stop this from occurring. This ranges from stopping the sale of inappropriate clothing to changing advertising and access to adult-material. In a letter to Mr Bailey, the prime minister pointed out three specific recommendations which he welcomes.
- make public space more family-friendly by "reducing the amount of on-street advertising containing sexualised imagery in locations where children are likely to see it."
- ensure children are protected when they watch television, are on the internet or use their mobile phones by "making it easier for parents to block adult and age-restricted material" across all media.
- stop the process where companies pay children to publicise and promote products in schools or on social networking sites by banning "the employment of children as brand ambassadors and in peer-to-peer marketing."Letter from David Cameron to Reg Bailey
There are various ways in which ISPs could filter content, including a full network level monitoring system such as the new HomeSafe system from TalkTalk, but something like this can be costly to implement. Many ISPs already filter content that appears on the IWF 'watch list' which contains a list of sites which contain child sexual abuse content and blocking adult material could be done in a similar way. There will be concerns about sites being incorrectly blocked however, and ISPs will need to provide an option for customers to make a decision at the point of purchase over whether to be filtered or not.
A website is also to be set up which will set out what parents can do if they feel TV programmes, advertisements or a service is inappropriate for their child, and the PM backs this as an easy thing to implement, whilst being able to provide feedback over where work is needed. This would be used at a summit to be held in October which the PM will attend, along with people from the relevant industries to check on the progress of this work. The full report, Letting Children be Children can be read at the Department for Education's website.