Culture, Media and Sport CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by John Reiner

Online dangers to children and young people.

Current situation is unsatisfactory.

Measures the Government could implement to increase protection.

1. I Pwould like to emphasise the current dangers to children and young people using the Internet. The first concern is the possible exposure of children to harmful contact online (eggrooming and sexting). The second concern is the danger of young eyes viewing legal adult content inappropriate to their age.

2. Two key facts from Ofgem clearly demonstrate why more protection is required—a) 81% of children aged 14 to 16 have viewed adult material online, b) only 46% of parents have filters in place on their home internet. More needs to be done at Government level to implement blocking of unsuitable material.

3. Policy changes and investment of resources are required to increase the levels of protection provided for children and young people using the internet. Some specific suggestions I would like to make are: a) implementation of default blocking of all adult contact to be the standard setting on all internet enabled devices sold in the UK to stop children from seeing adult content that could be harmful, b) the development and use of better age verification software. It is a basic necessity that children are safe from cruelty and harm. Measures like those suggested above are often watered down in the name of freedom of choice. This is a poor argument where the protection of children is concerned and should be resisted.

September 2013

Prepared 18th March 2014