Safety Net Campaign Achievement - Talk Talk offers family friendly broadband!

Talk Talk LogoAs public pressure from the Safetynet campaign on Internet Service Providers increases, TalkTalk is once again the first of the four major ISPs to step up with an improved offer for filtering pornography sites for its customers.

At present TalkTalk’s Home Safe system is the only one that has an ‘opt in’ service for new customers which covers all devices in the home, while BT and Sky’s free filter packages only cover three. Now TalkTalk propose to make their service available to all their 4m customers (this system also blocks sites unsuitable for under 18s such as suicide and self-harm, gambling, dating, drugs and weapons).

While this is a welcome move in the right direction, it is still not the full opt-in system as their default setting for filtering porn at network level is still switched on. This means that if you do not choose to install the filter, the pornography is still there. We are calling for the default to be automatically OFF at network level so that customers have to choose to ‘opt in’ to access pornography, with strict age verification.

The other main ISPs, BT, Virgin Media and Sky, are working on an Active Choice system which is about “giving the parents the information and tools with which to protect their children from inappropriate content.” This puts the responsibility on parents to be informed and navigate the complexities of installing filters, but official figures show that in 2011 only 39% of parents with children aged 5 – 15 had installed internet controls or filtering software. Individual device level filters can also be easily circumvented by children who tend to be more internet savvy than their parents.

Research suggests as many as one in three ten year olds has seen pornography on the web and 80% of children in their mid teens admit regularly viewing explicit images and videos'. Similarly, according to experts, children are more likely to get hooked on pornography with some spending up to 10 hours a day looking at explicit material.

These figures show how vital it is to keep up the pressure on the ISPs to stop dragging their heels and introduce a full automatic block on pornography - filtering at source offers the simplest and best protection for children from images of explicit, degrading, violent and extreme pornographic content which is easily available on the internet and available at a few clicks of the mouse. Come on TalkTalk and take the lead once again.

We welcome the promise by Mr Cameron of a government consultation on this, backed up with the threat of legislation. This will be a good opportunity for us all to make our voices heard.

Pippa Smith and Miranda Suit, Co- Directors of Safermedia- partners of the Safetynet campaign Pippa Smith and Miranda Suit, Co- Directors of Safermedia- partners of the Safetynet campaign

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To protect children I call on the Government to force Internet Service Providers to make accessing pornography an adult only opt-in service.

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