Take action to keep children safe online
The Government has opened a public consultation about the best way to protect children from harmful content online (eg. explicit adult content and self-harm websites). We need as many parents as possible to take action and respond to the questionnaire by the 6 September deadline to ensure your views are heard and more is done to keep children safe.
Why should I respond?
We need your support on this important issue. The internet is increasingly becoming a significant part of children's lives with 70 per cent of UK 9-16 year olds going online daily. Worryingly, 19 per cent of 11-16 year olds rising to 32 per cent of 14-16 year olds have seen potentially harmful content online, and one in five young people have received unwanted sexual content online.
The Government has said that it particularly wants to hear from parents so this is a crucial opportunity to have your say. The Government has a responsibility to review all consultation responses and will publish a summary of consultations responses which will reflect all views expressed.
How do I respond?
Please take part in the consultation by filling out the questionnaire before the deadline of Thursday 6 September. You will need to select and download the second Word document on the webpage 'download parental controls response form'.
Sections 1-4 are for parents and seek your views about concerns regarding what your children view online, how you currently restrict their access to inappropriate content and what you think of current internet safety education. Section 3 is the most important as it seeks your views about which system should be introduced in the future to protect children from harmful content online. We would encourage anyone taking part in joining us to support the automatic blocking of adult material in order to provide the most comprehensive protection for children.
What are the options to protect children online?
The Government is proposing three options to manage what children can access online:
- Some adult content (eg. pornography) is automatically blocked, however, you can request for these blocks to be removed.
- You have the option to switch on access restrictions to certain content such as pornography, self-harm and social networks.
- Same as option b) except some options such as porn are automatically ticked in advance, but you have the option to un-tick these.
Despite progress in recent years to develop parental controls, at the NSPCC we strongly support the first option in favour of a system that automatically blocks adult content. Parents have said many times that they find the current methods too complicated. We believe the first option best supports parents in offering the greatest possible protection for their children. However, it is really important that parents talk to their children about the risks they can encounter online.
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