Bested by the Poms

It seems we are being bested by the Poms.

The brouhaha that erupted in Australia when the Rudd-Gillard government proposed filtering out the worst of the worst ‘refused content’ classification from internet feeds was stunning in its ferocity.

Wild claims were thrown around of the devastating effect on internet speeds, and the democratically elected Australian government was compared to communist China.

Apparently, filtering child pornography was also going to be very technologically difficult.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Poms had bested us, having already mastered the ability to filter this out of feeds in the UK.

Now, they’re going one step further and planning to automatically filter adult pornography, unless the household chooses to opt-in.

Why?

When 1 in 3 children aged 10 have viewed pornography on the net, we start to realise that this is no longer a simple freedom of choice issue. The internet has integrated itself into so much of our life, that we must take responsibility for it’s effect on the next generation.

Never before in the history of humanity have we had such a proliferation of such easily accessible adult content, available to people of any age.

Yes, of course parents need to take responsibility for their children. But so do we all.

After all, if you saw a child standing in the middle of the highway, about to get hit by truck, wouldn’t you step in to protect that child and whisk him or her away from danger?

Why do we treat the information superhighway so differently?

We would all be appalled if publishers and broadcasters could publish or play whatever they wanted at any time of the day. We broadly accept that we need classification in other mediums, so why would the internet be any different? It is fast becoming the medium of choice for a generation and yet is the one channel that we allow to host content of any description.

In an article about the planned changes in the UK we read, “In the past, internet porn was regarded as a moral issue or a matter of taste. Now it has become a mental health issue because we now know the damage it is causing. We are seeing perverse sexual behavior among children. Legislation is both justifiable and feasible.”

The freedom we have is one that should be used to serve the weakest and most vulnerable among us. Let us not fail those we are designed to protect.

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