Culture, Media and Sport CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Ben Hardwick

I am delighted to hear of your committee’s laudable efforts to look into the subject of the damage that can be done to the younger generation by uncontrolled internet access—thank you very much for launching this enquiry.

The ordered, peaceful and generally prosperous outward-looking UK society with its opportunities, comprehensively organised education, healthcare, aid, infrastructure and defence/security arrangements are a priceless result of the daily work of Government—something that is rarely recognised or valued like it should be.

These benefits also extend far beyond Britain’s shores and the UK is still a beacon of tolerance and crucial lynchpin of global peace and security as well as being an example that is frequently followed by other Governments and States.

Little wonder then that Government is undoubtedly an instrument of God—1st Epistle of Peter, Chapter 2, V13; it is a “giver” and “provider” as well as a “controller”—again, the Bible states in the Epistle to the Romans Chapter 13 “for he bears not the sword in vain” along with a good deal else.

Government’s first duty is the protection of its citizens—this is an area at which HMG excels whether in defence and intelligence matters or law-enforcement that stabilises and enhances the condition and experience of society and its citizens and the whole global community.

I seek by these few paragraphs to set out simply how absolutely right it is for you to persist with better control measures on internet viewing and that you may be encouraged and set forward in doing what is clearly your duty.

I am a father of four children from three to 10 years old and revel in watching their rapid development and willingness to absorb knowledge at an apparently impossible rate. They are very impressionable and it is a very great responsibility as parents that my wife and I have in protecting and nurturing the next generation into responsible citizens.

Affectionate control and unselfishness is absolutely critical in this and it is really tragic to hear figures from OFCOM that more than 75% of 14–16 year olds have accessed adult material.

This is a situation that will cause permanent mind-scarring and a lack of fidelity and stable relationships on which true happiness is built in our society—to say nothing of the cost to Government and the taxpayer of broken homes because of so-called freedom to look at this content when in one’s tender teens.

HMG should move forward fearlessly with comprehensive and efficient control measures of what is currently a lawless “wild west” of media so as not to fail the potential of following generations.

It is a most revolting and immoral thought that there are actually publishers and persons making millions out of degrading us and ruining the moral compass of the young in our society.

I believe that there should be default blocking of all adult material on internet enabled devices sold in the UK as soon as possible.

I wish you all the best and courage in your deliberations on this vital subject.

September 2013

Prepared 18th March 2014