A welcome initiative to keep the internet innocent for children

Morning View
Morning View

There has been widespread internet usage for less than 20 years, yet it is now an everyday part of life.

The worldwide web is one of the most exciting innovations in human history, and has transformed lives across age groups and continents.

People can talk live to loved ones on other sides of the globe, they can shop and book tickets online, they can carry out research, they can communicate by email, get instant news, follow sport, play games and many other things.

For the many millions of people who use the internet daily and have done for a few years, it can become such a central part of day-to-day life that it sometimes seems as if the web has been with us forever.

As with any technology, there are problems too.

Fraudsters and terrorists and those who spread computer viruses are among the many unpleasant groups of people who harness online technology.

And then there is the vast online world of pornography.

Whether we like it or not, online sexual imagery and videos are one of the most popular features of the internet. Surveys have shown that pornography is viewed and enjoyed by an overwhelming majority of young men. This behaviour seems to be widely accepted among young adults in the West.

However, there is also an overwhelming public feeling among all age groups that abusive pornography is an evil that must be rigorously policed. There is also agreement among all sensible adults that children should not be exposed to any pornography at all.

The younger the child is, the more damaging it might be if they are exposed to explicit sexual images.

How then to reconcile the right of adults to view sex online with the fact that children must be shielded from it?

Sky has led the way in Britain by automatically blocking its broadband customers from accessing pornographic websites unless they deliberately opt out of the “family friendly” bar.

This is a welcome effort to keep the web innocent for kids.