Culture, Media and Sport CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Lloyd Johnston

Background

Having been born into a Christian household 30 years ago. I was brought up by my parents to live my life in accordance with the principles set out in the Bible. I have lived amongst Christians all my life and have proved times without number the benefits and protection of living with a sense of the guiding hand of God in my life.

Developments in Information Technology

Over the past century developments in communications and information technology have increased at an outstanding rate. There have been significant benefits to these developments in the business, political, education and many other sectors. However, there has also been with an alarming rate an increase in the exposure of risk to children. At one time there were only computers found in businesses, now if you asked most children of a reasonable age they would have in their pocket a phone of some type which would have access to the internet.

Risks of Today’s Information Technology

The access that the majority of children have to the internet is beneficial to them in many ways to assist them with their education etc. However, the risk that this poses at the current time is horrendous. There are two areas to which they are most vulnerable. The first is that they are exposed to any harmful contact online (eg grooming and sexting). The second is that they can easily access legal adult content that’s not appropriate for their age.

Ofcom have stated that 81% of children aged 14–16 have viewed ADULT material online. They have also found that only 46% of parent have filters in place on their home internet. Surely these two facts stand on their own, they give us a clear message that the status-quo is simply not acceptable. These risks cannot go on. Exposing a child to such filth could seduce their immature minds and change their characters for life. Such tools are being used in the world today to infiltrate, defile and corrupt the morals of simple people. A child with their inquisitive and curious mind may by total accident come across such material on the internet, they will instinctively click to look further and this one click is all it takes to scar, change the character and ruin that child’s life. The youth today is being corrupted by the modern age. This has a knock on effect in the modern society where what was previously classed as unacceptable conduct is accepted now as normal. There are sadly in the world today evil persons seeking to attract children for filth through the electronic labyrinth of evil (the electronic systems of today).

I have been saved from my sins by the redeeming power of the precious blood of Jesus “who gave himself for our sins, so that he should deliver us out of the present evil world” (Galatians 1 v 4). I was once under the power of Satan “he who is called Devil and Satan, he who deceives the whole habitable world” (Revelation 12 v 9) but I am now saved for eternity. It is utterly abhorrent to me to think that we who live in a Christian country are allowing for such pollution to be available to young tender minds.

Resolution to the Unprotected Electronic Age

It is with great appreciation I see that the Government are reviewing this whole issue. I fully support them in finding a resolution which will protect the young people and all residents of the United Kingdom from evil persons who would seek to harm them and from the adult material which is posted online.

There is one point I would fervently impress on the committee that they consider in reviewing suitable solutions. This is that any IT devices sold in the United Kingdom should have a standard setting on it which by default blocks all adult content on the internet. There should also be improved age-verification software installed on all devices.

I believe that some have tried to argue against suggestions such as I make above because of freedom of choice. We need to face the facts, 100 years ago such things as websites displaying this filth were not only not even thought about, and had they been they would have been outlawed immediately. Our previous generations then had no need for such material—why the change, can anyone justify to me why we need it now?

It is with greatest respect I submit this to the committee and will continue to pray that God in his infinite wisdom will give you the strength to stand for His rights, the protection of our nation’s Christian values and the protection of the people (especially the vulnerable children) of the United Kingdom.

September 2013

Prepared 18th March 2014