Culture, Media and Sport CommitteeWritten evidence submitted by Russell Pillar

I write in relation to your enquiry into On-line Safety.

This is an issue that has always concerned me and I would like to strongly urge the committee to make a definitive stand for the need to implement greater on-line safety as a matter of urgency.

It is clear that this is a subject that government has been casual about in the past and as a result we now live in a society of young people whose minds are evidently polluted by the despicable material they are able to access on-line.

It is distressing the number of times we read in the newspapers of young persons who have committed suicide after discovering something on-line they didn’t know about before, or when they have been bullied on social media. Many times, violent activity is attributed to something a young person has been able to access on the internet.

It is before they reach adulthood that a child’s mind is at its most fertile and very easily influenced, therefore perhaps giving us a clue as to why we live in a world where the next generation is becoming more and more extremist in its views due to the vast amount of literature they can access on-line.

I believe this is a trend that we can change if measures are implemented quickly to prevent access of adult material by children under 16 years of age and I would encourage members of the Committee to be bold in their stand and grasp this opportunity to make the world a better and safer place to live in.

September 2013

Prepared 18th March 2014