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In collaboration with the Christian special interest group Mothers' Union, the British government has launched a comprehensive campaign to protect children from sexually charged media content, as reported by Wired. The four largest Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are united in their pledge that all future connections come equipped with an optional porn filter. “This technical solution is a good add-on for children who sometimes happen to stumble across pornography. However, older adolescents are not prevented from searching for specific content," says Bernhard Jungwirth of saferinternet.at.

Future customers of the ISPs Sky, TalkTalk, BT and Virgin must decide whether or not to install the filter prior to setting up their internet access. In practice this means that users must explicitly register to access pornography. Existing customers are not affected by this change, though plans for increased marketing and education should lead to a greater proportion of filtered connections. The installed filter will vary between providers. Two providers will rely on McAfee software directly installed to customers’ computers; the others will filter by way of the network.


Filters have been available to all providers for some time – the only difference is that customers are now faced with deciding on their use. The effectiveness of such filters is controversial: They are easy to override with a few simple tricks, often block sites without any pornographic content and sometimes allow objectionable sites to pass through. In addition, it is unclear whose authority should decide what is and what isn’t pornographic.  Providers have not addressed these details but instead refer to the importance of protecting families and children.

"Above all others, parents are burdened with the task of educating their children to develop media literacy. The internet has extremely simplified access to pornographic material.  Parents must work to prevent their children from taking this image of sexuality as an example. There is no easy solution. To believe that matter was settled with a technical filter would be a big mistake.” -  Bernhard Jungwirth


Prime Minister David Cameron has launched a major campaign against the sexualisation of childhood. A report from the Mothers' Union president inspired the campaign. It states that internet pornography, sexualised television and advertising, as well as suggestive clothing for minors disrupts the childhood of young Britons. Various media monitors have already confirmed their participation. A recently established website already allows parents to report inappropriate content and products. A ban on aggressive advertising for some subject matter is planned to follow.

 

 

 

Sources: 

www.themothersunion.org

www.saferinternet.at

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