“Today I am going to tread into territory that can be hard for our society to confront,” stated Prime Minister David Cameron. He continued, “It is frankly difficult for politicians to talk about, but I believe we need to address as a matter of urgency. I want to talk about the internet, the impact it’s having on the innocence of our children, how online pornography is corroding childhood and how, in the darkest corners of the internet, there are things going on that are a direct danger to our children and that must be stamped out…”
“The fact is that the growth of the internet as an unregulated space has thrown up two major challenges when it comes to protecting our children. The first challenge is criminal and that is the proliferation and accessibility of child abuse images on the internet. The second challenge is cultural: the fact that many children are viewing online pornography and other damaging material at a very early age and that the nature of that pornography is so extreme it is distorting things meant for adults or have adult experiences; we rightly regulate to protect them. But when it comes to the internet, in the balance between freedom and responsibility we’ve neglected our responsibility to children.”
With regards to the need to protect children from online pornography and other damaging material, the Prime Minister shared current UK efforts:
- Mobile phones: Mobile phone companies will activate adult content filters on mobile phones automatically. The owner can opt out once proving he/she is at least 18 years old.
- Public Wifi Networks: Internet Service Providers will ensure family friendly filters are present on public wifi networks wherever children are likely to be present.
- Private Family Network: New customers will be provided with technology that will filter adult content on any device connected to the home internet account (no need to download filters for every device).
For the complete speech, click here.
Since his 2013 speech, progress continues to be made in the UK to protect children from exposure to graphic sexual content and exploitation, including proving the “Sky Model” initiative, which provides default filtering to all internet customers, and collaborative efforts to begin “Age Verification” for online pornography sites.