Over 100,000 people have signed-up to the Safetynet campaign calling upon the Government to introduce legislation to ensure that Internet Service Providers [ISPs] filter pornography at source.
Premier Christian Media, the UK’s largest Christian media organisation, launched the campaign on Safer Internet Day, February 7th this year in conjunction with Safermedia – an organisation that raises awareness of harmful media content and aims to minimise its availability. At last count, 100,927 people had signed the petition.
Safetynet‘s aim is to mobilise the public to put pressure on the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP- Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, to make it compulsory for Internet Service Providers to block pornography at network level. This will still give adults the choice to access whatever they choose whilst giving children the freedom to surf the internet safely. The top six UK-based ISPs account for 90% of internet traffic.
There has been increased concern about the issue of internet pornography since a cross-party inquiry in April this year. The subsequent report, which was sponsored by Premier Christian Media, highlighted figures showing almost one in three children aged just ten or under has seen sexual images online.
Tim Farron MP said,
Young people should not be subjected to easily accessible images that objectify and dehumanise other humans, this is not about prudishness but about protecting children and protecting the freedom of parents to raise their children within appropriate boundaries.
Atheist writer and academic Alain De Botton supports the campaign:
Our society values freedom hugely, but true freedom shouldn’t have to mean being allowed to mess up one’s life or that of others. Therefore, some things can be censored: driving without a seatbelt, smoking etc. It’s time to recognise that perhaps unlimited access to porn is something that harms more than it inspires – and therefore that measures should be taken to reduce availability. It’s time revisit the mantra that all nanny state gestures are bad. There’s a place for boundaries.
Peter Kerridge, CEO of Premier Christian Media said:
It’s phenomenal how quickly the Safetynet campaign has gained the support of over 100,927 members of the public; and this number continues to increase daily.
The issue is already being discussed in Parliament by a cross party group of MPs, but now that we’ve crossed the 100,000 threshold, we have the opportunity for the issue to be debated further in the Commons. The public has clearly spoken out in support of this issue and it is our hope that the Government will now listen, and introduce legislation which will force ISPs to turn the porn default setting to ‘off’ and protect our children from adult content.
Miranda Suit, co-Chairman of Safermedia said,
This figure demonstrates clearly that the British public share our conviction that internet pornography is playing a crucial role in the sexualisation of our children. Since this petition was launched, there has been a constant stream of news backing up our case, that hardcore online porn is shaping the sexual culture of our young people and doing untold harm.
We are especially concerned that nearly 15,000 school children have been expelled or suspended for sex offences in the last 5 years. There is a sense of urgency as every day that goes by, more and more innocent children are being affected and their lives ruined. Internet porn cannot be allowed to circulate unchallenged.