A Parliamentary Advisory Forum hosted by Claire Perry, MP for Devizes, met in 2011 to discuss Online Parental Controls and speakers from the great and the good included; Ed Vaizey, MP for Wantage and Didcot; Dido Harding of Talk Talk, Justine Roberts of Mumsnet; Dr. Clarissa Smith of University of Sunderland; Mike Gavin of BT; and John Carr OBE, internet consultant on child safety.
Claire Perry said “50% of children browsing the internet do so in private, without parental control. The time has come to do something about this.” and Ed Vaizey commented “It has become clear from the weight of letters, conversations and comments that this is very much a live issue. There is an opportunity for Internet Service Providers to show the Government what they can do to help.”
Paul Sillars, director of the Kidderminster branch of M247 who are specialists in content filtering, was also at the meeting and commented “We will head down a cul-de-sac if we keep getting stuck on the freedom of speech issue. This is not about deciding what is right or wrong for children to see, this is about firstly giving parents the ability to choose and control what is viewed, downloaded, or streamed through and from devices that their family use every day. I am excited that SO Internet can play a part is these discussions and provide a solution that can help towards resolving this increasing problem.”
The anti-filtering lobby claimed at the Forum that the main pop-ups you get when surfing are no longer for pornography but are now pushing gambling. They say that this proves that the market is changing and that adult content being viewed by children probably has no effect on them”.
Sillars also says “We are working hard to help parents who just don’t want their children to experience this kind of content just yet and our technologies already enable parents to filter out undesirable websites so that children just never have the opportunity to see it, even by accident, whether it’s on their mobile phone, home or school computer. It needn’t be a jungle and parents can use our powerful tools to keep things under control. Unlike many other providers, M247 has content filtering solutions that work upstream from home PCs making it impossible for kids to hack passwords or get around the controls”
BT, Sky, Talk Talk, Virgin and other service providers are also working together to produce an Industry Code of Conduct that will speak with consistency when making information and advice available.