Comment on Prime Minister's speech on child internet safety

22 Jul 2013 UK SIC

This morning (22 July) the Prime Minister made a statement on government efforts to protect children online.

We welcome the Prime Minister making the clear distinction between the fight against online child sexual abuse content and efforts to prevent legal material being viewed by those who are underage. It is critical that these debates are kept separate. (See more on the PM’s statement relating to online child sexual abuse points by looking at the IWF’s position relating to the speech here). 

The IWF is one of the three partners of the UK Safer  Internet Centre and has a specific remit to manage illegal content online. The other core role of the centre is awareness raising, fulfilled by the other two partners – Childnet International and the South West Grid for Learning. This statement aims to outline our view on today’s Prime Minister speech from an awareness raising perspective.

The Prime Minister described plans for the 4 major ISPs to offer family friendly filters that are “pre-selected to be on unless an adult turns them off”,  by the end of the year. The UK Safer Internet Centre has been working with the 4 large ISPs – BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media –  to develop short videos explaining where you can find their free parental controls and how to set them up – so those wanting to use these tools can do this right now.

We welcome the Prime Minister’s emphasis on the importance of education. As one of the leading organisations in child internet safety the UK Safer Internet Centre provides advice and support to young people, parents and professionals. To us education is key to empower young people to be responsible digital citizens and build and strengthen their resilience online. We also recognise that parents today need support and help in understanding the effect of the internet on how their children are growing up and we are working actively to support parents by delivering education sessions to parents and producing resources for parents.

We will continue to support the developing plans for a major national awareness raising campaign for parents led by the Internet Service Providers, and welcome the prompting model that the Government is proposing to use in its interactions with people to encourage them to think about filtering.

The UK Safer Internet Centre welcomes the Government’s sustained focus on child internet safety and will continue to support and work with a range of stakeholders in pursuit of our mission to make the internet a safer place for all. 

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