Updated: 03/07/2012 14:06 | By pa.press.net

Views sought on default porn ban

Parents will be asked whether internet pornography should be automatically banned on computers and smartphones, ministers have said.


The Government is to consult with parents over whether internet pornography should be automatically banned on computers

The Government is to consult with parents over whether internet pornography should be automatically banned on computers

Parents will be asked whether internet pornography should be automatically banned on computers and smartphones, ministers have said.

The internet porn industry is worth an estimated £3 billion a year but campaigners have argued it is too easy for children to access explicit adult content.

Children's minister Tim Loughton said the internet industry needed to raise its game to help families control what their children saw online.

It comes as more than 100,000 people signed-up to a Safetynet campaign calling for the Government to introduce legislation to ensure internet service providers filtered pornography at source.

"We have always been clear we would turn up the heat on industry if it did not make fast enough progress," Mr Loughton said.

But bringing in an automatic filter risks "lulling parents into a false sense of security", he warned.

"There is no silver bullet to solve this. No filter can ever be 100% foolproof. There can never be any substitute for parents taking responsibility for how, when and where their children use the internet. The answer lies in finding ways to combine technical solutions with better education, information and, if necessary regulation further down the line."

The 10-week consultation will ask parents and businesses for their views on the best way to shield children from internet pornography and other potentially harmful sites, such as those which promote suicide, anorexia, gambling, self-harm and violence.

Views on preventing online sexual grooming and cyber-bullying will also be sought, the Department for Education (DfE) said.

Nick Pickles, director of the Big Brother Watch campaign group, said: "The consultation appears to rule out a UK-wide filter, something that we have campaigned against as Government should not have the ability to control what we can see online. Parents do need more help installing and using online safety tools, but using them and what to prevent access to are decisions for parents."

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