For a few brief hours yesterday I had hoped that some of our children may just be saved from viewing some of the obscene, degrading and horrendous scenes of hard core pornography. I hoped that some of the scumbags who make money from the abhorrent abuse of small children may have had less viewers on their child pornography websites. But that hope was short lived.
You see yesterday the Coalition announced that one of their policies included internet filtering. Not the kind that was earlier proposed and squashed by the current government, but the kind that wanted governments to work in conjunction with the telecommunications companies to add software by default to our devices. That would mean if you wanted to see certain material you had to unblock your filter, rather than try and find a filter to block what you don’t want to see. Or so I had thought and hoped.
Rather swiftly people jumped on this as if our every human right had just been stripped. The Coalition then backpeddled and said this is not part of their policy. It said that it referred to a policy that looked at working with Interpol to make sure the internets worst child pornography sites were not readily accessible by default. And today they have said what they really meant was to encourage the telecommunications companies to provide software that you could download on to your devices if you so choose. We already have that. But many are not using it or are using it haphazardly. So what would be so wrong with helping those kids who have parents unable to adequately use these filters?
A system where devices have inbuilt software to help save some of our kids from seeing stuff they don’t need to. Even if the percentage is small and the filtering doesn’t stop everything, isn’t it worth it?
I am all for parents doing their best to help teach their kids. I am well aware that education and parental involvement must be the number one influence over what our kids see online. I even wrote about it this week. But I also know this is so often not the case.
We need our governments to look at filtering online content because:
- The average age a child sees hard core pornography is 11
- The pornography they are viewing is often aggressive and violent
- Schools will put on information nights about cyber-safety and they are attended by very few of the parents
- 30% of internet downloads are porn related
- Parents may put filtering systems on their computer but rarely do these cover every device in the home
- Even if parents are vigilant about their own filtering, the parents of their kids mates may not be so careful
And we need to remember this:
‘Opt’ means optional. So if it is an opt-out filtering system you have a choice. It is not censorship if you have a choice.
Forget political party bias and worries about freedom of speech. I for one am sad it is off the table. I think it needs much more discussion. This is not taking away what people have to say. People will still read your blogs. It may however just save the innocence of some of our kids.