Government launches consultation on online blocking

Posted on 29 June 2012

The government has today launched a consultation to ask parents and businesses whether automatic online blocks should be introduced to help protect children from adult and harmful websites.

The consultation paper asks for views on three options for the best approach in keeping children safe online:

  1. a system, known as "default on" or "opt-in", where people's home Internet Service Provider or each internet-enabled device (laptop and desktop computers; mobile phones; tablets and television) blocks harmful content automatically before any customer purchases it. They can later choose to adjust or remove the blocks if parents want to access the blocked websites.
  2. a system where customers are always presented with an unavoidable choice about whether or not they want filters and blocks installed either on their home internet service and/or each internet-enabled device they are buying – an approach known as "active choice". This applies at either the 'point of purchase', either online, telephone or over the counter or when a customer first switches on a new device or internet subscription.
  3. a system that combines features of both systems, where customers are presented with a list of online content that will be blocked automatically unless they choose to unblock them – or "active choice" plus.

Childnet will be responding to this consultation drawing on the experiences of children and young people and the concerns of parents and carers that we hear in our schools work across the country on a daily basis.

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