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Guest blog: why aren't we protecting children from porn?

(141 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 24-May-13 17:40:53

A report published today by the govt's Children Commissioner found that children are increasingly exposed to extreme pornography online - and that it's influencing their attitudes towards sex. In this guest blog, Sunday Times columnist (and MN Blogger) Eleanor Mills says it's time to put the protection of children first.

What do you think? Let us have your thoughts on the thread - and if you blog on this issue, don't forget to post your URL.

"Basically, Porn Is Everywhere is the title of a new report published today, from the Office of the Children's Commissioner. It reviews 41,000 pieces of research on the impact of porn and finds that widespread access to porn amongst youngsters is encouraging teenage boys to see girls as sex objects , engage in risky sexual behaviour and have sex earlier. Most worrying of all, it also shows a link between boys who view porn and more aggressive sexual behaviour and violence.

I'm tempted to say I told you so.  For the past three years now I have been writing regularly about what I call Generation XXX (£) and the problems the tsunami of online porn is creating for today's teenagers and their relationships. These days everything from television to music videos, Instagram to the mania for sexting demonstrates the pervasive pornification of youth culture. Yet on we trundle, seemingly indifferent to its pernicious effects. Maybe now the naysayers will agree that there is a problem and take the appropriate action.

The writing has been on the wall about the harm done to youngsters who view adult sexual content on the web for a while. A few months ago, I attended a conference at the University of London's psychology department entitled Virtual Adolescence. As the day unfolded a succession of speakers, including Professor Alessandra Lemma (a world expert on body image and mental disorders) and John Woods, a consultant psychotherapist at the Portman Clinic in London, outlined the mental toll that screen life is taking on our children.

The stand-out talk of the day, given by Woods, was called Child Abuse on a Massive Scale: The Effects of Unregulated Pornography. It made for worrying listening.

Woods cited a study by HealthyMind.com which found the average age of first exposure to such images is six (other recent research has suggested the average age is eight) and that the largest consumers of internet porn are the 12-17 age group. These alarming figures are backed up by a new EU Kids Online survey which found that pornographic and violent content top a list of children's own internet concerns (57% say concerns about internet content "most bothered" people of their age).

In his lecture Woods outlined some disturbing examples from his clinical practice including 'James', whose long-term porn fascination led him to assault a five-year-old boy 'because he wanted to know what it felt like'. James, 16, had watched so much porn, Woods said, that he had "no idea the other person needed to give consent to be penetrated".

Another boy, Jeremy, 14, was "driven mad" by his compulsion to view illegal images; before the police confiscated his computer he had been spending at least two hours a night on increasingly violent porn websites while his parents thought he was doing his homework. During his therapy with Woods, Jeremy explained that the only way he could control the images that kept returning to his mind of animals, kids, stabbing and strangling was to 'switch the computer back on, as then the images were back there' rather than in his head.

I fail to understand how a society that insists on a 9pm watershed for swearing on television and rates cinematic content with 18 certificates so adult material is not seen by children, is so callously slack about the tsunami of brutal, violent porn available with two clicks of a mouse. This bafflement was widely shared at the conference. Woods, who treats young teen sex offenders, likened the inability of society to get a grip on the harm being done to a kind of 'mass psychosis'.

Why do we let it slide? The first reason is ignorance: many parents equate porn with the top-shelf centrefolds of their own youth, unaware of the smorgasbord of violent perversion so easily available on the internet. Attempts by the government, led by the MP Claire Perry, to establish an 'opt-in' system for the internet (the default setting for an internet feed would be porn-free unless users specifically asked for adult material, in which case they would have to prove they were over 18) has failed. The government, under pressure from internet service providers, has instead gone for a weaker system that prompts new users of broadband to set up parental controls on individual computers.

"That is inadequate, completely inadequate," countered Diane Abbott, the shadow public health minister, when I popped in to see her in Westminster. "The opt-in is so important. The problem with relying on parental controls is that every self-respecting child can get round them." That's why a new system, whereby internet service providers can give households who want it a clean feed - ie one without porn, so adults can opt-in for porn if they want to rather than children coming across it when they don't want to - is, in my view, so important.

Abbott sees internet porn as a public health matter. Since she spoke out about this at the Fawcett Society last month she has been taken aback by her postbag: "I've had hundreds of letters - they are really touching because they are not part of some orchestrated campaign but are from genuine women describing their distress at the pornification of culture and the sexualisation of women and girls that goes hand in hand with it.

"People think when you raise this that you're complaining about pictures of girls with bare breasts. Well, I'm not particularly concerned about bare breasts. What these children are seeing online is of an entirely different order; it is really horrible stuff which brutalises and degrades women. There'z a link between exposure to that sort of pornography and violence within relationships."

Abbott is right about that. Woods cited research that shows adolescents who watch internet pornography not only "relax their boundaries towards sexual violence" but are also more likely to "see women as sex objects and engage in risk- taking behaviours such as unprotected sex".

The Icelandic government is so concerned about the way violent internet porn seems to stoke sexual aggression that it is considering becoming the first democracy in the western world to ban online pornography. "We are a progressive, liberal society when it comes to nudity, to sexual relations, so our approach is not anti-sex but anti- violence," says Halla Gunnarsdottir, an adviser to the interior minister. Porn in this definition is not sexually explicit material but images that show hateful, violent sex.

That is exactly what the internet is awash with. So when children click on porn out of a natural curiosity to find out about sex (sex is the most common word typed into search engines), what they find isn't loving, consensual acts - albeit of a raunchy nature - but the most outré acts you can imagine (and many you can't).

The fact that society does not attempt to control or ban the extreme material that is so easily available sends our young people the message that it's standard to have group sex - and that violence is acceptable. Understandably, young people are confused, frightened and disturbed by what they see. Add arousal to that mix (patterns of early sexual arousal tend to stick for life) and it's not surprising that psychologists are worried.

Of course, it is oversimplistic to say that if you watch a rape-style fantasy online you immediately go out and commit one - but what a range of experts are beginning to agree upon is that widespread consumption of internet pornography, particularly at a tender age, shifts the way people think about intimacy, relationships and women. (Gail Dines, author of Pornland, describes just how porn hooks young men in in this article I published last week in the Sunday Times News Review. [£])

A good barometer of porn's influence is the fact that young people, raised on hairless porn stars, spend vast amounts of time and money having their pubic hair removed for fear of being seen as unattractive. Similarly, psychologists commonly report adolescents seeing sex as all about performance - ie, does it look like the porn they have seen? - rather than it being about a connection with the other person or pleasure.

Teens are caught in a web of pornified norms: sexting, indulging in unsafe sexual behaviour and generally feeling freaked out by 'expectations' implicit in the material they are viewing. I met one 14-year-old who was being sent porn clips by her boyfriend as prompts to what he wanted them to do that Saturday night. Woods, too, spoke of how porn spills over into reality, telling of a 17-year-old boy who reported himself for treatment because he had started following women down the street and was frightened he might "go further" in acting out his porn-fuelled fantasies.

Woods spoke passionately of the need to educate people about the risks of teen porn consumption, to support research that examines the effects of internet pornography and to "legally implement technological solutions that separate internet content, allowing consumers to choose the type of legal content they wish to have access to" - in other words, an 'opt-in' system.
It's up to all of us to make it happen.

I feel so strongly about all of this that on 2pm on June 11th at the offices of the think tank Policy Exchange in central London, I'm organising a conference on the subject, entitled Generation XXX. Attendees include MPs Claire Perry and Diane Abbott and Gail Dines, author of PornLand, an American academic who has led the charge on the damaging effects of porn. Dr John Woods from the Portman clinic, whose talk I mention above, will also be speaking - alongside some of the youth workers dealing with the fall-out from all of this on the front line. If you would like tickets (which are free) contact events@policyexhange.org.uk."

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Tee2072 Fri 24-May-13 20:16:36

I agree porn is not good for children.

But I disagree it being banned by a government (And how will that work? How will they block Big Breasted Women and not block Breast Cancer Help?) or at the ISP level is the answer.

The answer is parental education and children's education. Why are these kids learning about sex only on porn sites? Where's sex ed? Where is parental accountability?

Also, those samples are obviously extreme ones. Not all children will be come sex predators if exposed to porn any more than they start carrying guns from playing video games.

WuzzleMonkey Fri 24-May-13 21:06:53

Great blog, thank you for sharing it.

As a mother of two daughters this terrifies me.

Tee - you quite rightly say "The answer is parental education and children's education. Why are these kids learning about sex only on porn sites? Where's sex ed? Where is parental accountability?"

Unfortunately, as a youth worker I know that parental accountability is absent in many cases.

I don't like the idea that the state should have to act in loco parentis in such a fundamentally important area. But I hate the idea more that my daughters may end up dating boys who have grown up with this stuff and see it as normal.

I'm anti censorship to a point...I guess this is where I draw my line in the sand.

StephanieDA Fri 24-May-13 21:14:21

Children and young people are exposed to pornography's message wherever they look in our culture, whether it's in newspapers displayed at toddler height or taken into children's homes, on Facebook which doesn't seem willing to moderate images of sexual violence against women, or on t.v. where the 'porn look' is seen as 'liberating and fun'. The basic message of women's role as sexual entertainment for men is reinforced everywhere and taken to its inevitably violent extreme in the kind of online porn available now.

If the definition of 'grooming' is making something seem normal and desirable, then our culture is grooming our young generation into the roles assigned to them by porn. It is the responsibility of society to also be accountable for the environment our young people grow up in - the responsibility cannot rest wholly on the shoulders of parents.

We have not yet caught up with the fact that the online world is a new form of 'public space' and it should be a safe space for everyone. Those who want violent porn should be the ones who make the effort to seek it out, those who don't want it shouldn't have to try to find ways to avoid it.

ecclesvet Fri 24-May-13 21:16:26

Pornography is trivially easy to block in your own home, the problem is parents who won't learn how to do it then blame the government and the ISPs for 'allowing' it to reach their children.

Tee2072 Fri 24-May-13 21:36:16

Wuzzle I am 100% anti-censorship. No exceptions. I don't agree with children watching porn, of course, but I am not willing to lose my ability to watch it because other parents can't be bothered to parent. Or read or watch anything else.

That way lies Big Brother and other rights removed.

WuzzleMonkey Fri 24-May-13 21:45:34

We're back to your question about differentiating about how we block different types of porn though, aren't we Tee?

I support your ability to watch 'Big Breasted women'. I don't support your ability to watch vulnerable, trafficked women have penises shoved down their throats until they gag or be tortured in many other myriad ways.

Tee2072 Fri 24-May-13 21:57:48

I don't disagree with that, wuzzle. But there is no way to filter the one without filtering the other. There just isn't. Opt-in is not a good option. It's too full of holes.

If you opt-out, there is no way to allow you to search for my previous example. Blocking breast will block breast. Period. End of.

WuzzleMonkey Fri 24-May-13 22:08:54

As a grown adult, though, if you want to search for porn you can simply opt into it, isn't that the point?

It's still there and accessible, just not to everyone.

WuzzleMonkey Fri 24-May-13 22:11:01

(Disclaimer: I know very little about the technicalities of how the proposed opt-in function would work or how a person's age would be verified)

'Something Must Be Done!'

'Here is Something; We Must Do It'

FloraFox Fri 24-May-13 22:29:49

Tee2072 I am 100% anti-censorship. No exceptions.

So no libel laws then? Child pornography? What about depictions of brutal murder (real or fake)? Full sex on tv during the day? How about advertisers telling lies about their products? No restrictions on reporting criminal cases?

Dawntreader Fri 24-May-13 22:44:23

I am as appalled as anyone is about children's exposure to porn - especially the suggestion that it happens as young as six, the age of my daughter. But there is an easy preventative measure. Why is it regarded as mornal that children have unregulated screen tine at that age - or indeed any screen time? If you don't make it part of normal life they don't ask for it. My daughter had no TV or any other screen until school at 4 and a half. She didn't miss it. She occassionally saw cbeebies at friend's houses and we gradually introduced DVDs (thomas and chuggington mainly) when she started asking about TV and she didn't clock that there were other options. Since then naNny mcfee, chitty chitty bang bang and matilda have been favourites on her once a wEek short sessions. She does use my PC occassionally - while I'm in room cooking - and plays mathletics, chictionary and various cbeebies games. Is she missing out? No. She's a voracious reader and although she might be a but perplexed by theme tunes and catch phrases she picks them up in the playground.

I know some think it"s lunatic but I havea self reliant, articualte child (I suspect partly as a result) who will happily read a book or write and draw a story to amuse herself or make up a complicated game or "a mystery" involving hand drawn "clues" hidden around the house. Where my censorship runs aground is magazines. Once they grouw out of thomas and Cbeebies and the irritating Dora what next? Princess or Girl talk which is basically sub teen but aimed at five year olds with give away lipsticks and sub- adolescent teen angst plotlines. It makes seventies era Jackie look a bit prim.

And that's whatks really hard to avoid as it's knee level in Sainsbury's. Yet apparently there's little market for something more wholesome. Where is the parallel to Bunty or Twinkle or Diana (all 60s and 70s mags that alllowed little girls to be just that and enjoy it without being rushed into premature adolescence) now? If we are complicit in allowing the sexualisation of children by less obvious means than porn it's small wander they are unshockable when that's what they encounter.

Dawntreader Fri 24-May-13 22:49:58

There is a big difference between being anti-censorship about adult comment and anti-sensible restrictions to protect minors - which I would not define as censorship but instead a Rawlsian protection of the fundamental right to innocence.

JoyMachine Sat 25-May-13 00:11:06

What is horrifying is the thought that no matter how safe I keep my children, and educate them about normal, healthy relationships... it is for nought if those they end up in relationships have been exposed to early sexualisation and porn.

katykuns Sat 25-May-13 00:57:15

Joymachine... I feel the same way. I am finding myself worrying about my girls (6 and 1) as teens. Will they be forced to do things out of their comfort zone because such extreme behaviours are considered the norm within their peers? I hope not.

I'd like to think that its all not quite so black and white. That the cases the Blogger cites are affected by other influences than just porn.

I agree with bringing in an opt-in system wholeheartedly. I think it would be good for the adults too, if it limits the horrible fetishes like torture porn or semi realistic videos of rape. I think the people watching that for fun could do without it frankly.

Tee2072 Sat 25-May-13 07:36:41

Flora you are confusing censorship and acts of law regarding speech that has already occurred.

No, those things should not be censored. Anyone can say whatever they want.

And they will get in trouble for saying them if what they say is illegal, based on the laws that some people feel are necessary. Not everyone agrees with lack of sex on TV during the day or not showing murder (real or fake) or even child porn. I am not saying I want to see any of those things, but assuming on a planet of over 7 billion people that no one wants to see them is just ridiculous.

It's time for people to start taking responsibility for their own actions and feelings and for them to stop expecting the government to do everything.

Rooble Sat 25-May-13 07:43:49

Dawntreader (love your name): there are vg magazines such as NG Kids which are aimed at both boys and girls so no lipstick in sight.

I think the opt-in is a good idea but need to understand how this applies to mobile devices. My DS is only Y1, but in his school children from Y3/Y4 are starting to have smartphones (????? Really do not understand the need!), IPod touches, Kindle Fires etc etc etc which put them online totally out of sight of their parents. And I think the parents naively assume that as long as they monitor what the children are doing on a proper computer/laptop all will be fine.
Is the opt-in on each device, or is it with your ISP, so therefore non-existent when you're out and about? In which case, I would say Iceland is going in the right direction.

Smudging Sat 25-May-13 07:44:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

NessaYork Sat 25-May-13 07:47:22

I remember a few years ago channel flicking one Friday night and found on Channel 5 an actual snuff movie. It was about 10pm. It beggars belief to have that kind of thing on mainstream TV on a week night.

My son is now 14 and I see on his Facebook feed the kind of things that no child should be exposed to. (These are things his friends are looking at, which means that he also is exposed to them - I am not for one second saying that he is not also looking at them, although I hope he isn't.) He knows that those images aren't 'healthy' and although we haven't exactly banned him from looking at them at home, he knows those things must not be shown to his sisters.

He's quite good looking so he gets a lot of female attention but the only way I can think of approaching this is to try to encourage him to want a good, healthy relationship instead of thinking about the sex angle. I'm hoping that the omnipresence of porn means that it will lose its allure, relatively speaking. I also talk to him about his sisters, and how he would feel about it if one of them was in a porn photo / video (in the hope he keeps valuing girls as people and not as objects). I'm probably hopelessly naive, but I hope this approach will work in light of the govt's almost complete lack of censorship.

As for my daughters, I agree with Caitlyn Moran's oped in the Saturday Times a few months back. When they are old enough, I will watch 'Girls' with them so they can see for themselves how stupid and pointless porn is, and how deserving of our collective derision.

I fail to understand how a society that insists on a 9pm watershed for swearing on television and rates cinematic content with 18 certificates so adult material is not seen by children, is so callously slack about the tsunami of brutal, violent porn available with two clicks of a mouse.

So Eleanor Mills is comparing

- television
- cinema
- the internet

In the words of our friends from Sesame Street ...

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong

Cinema - a single stream of information, shown in cinemas or bought as a physical product in venues which are within the government's control (I'm not counting downloads here because you're onto the internet then.) Because it's just one stream of information it's simple and economical to have a whole panel of people discuss the content and decide what age range it's appropriate for, if any, using full human judgment.

Age certification doesn't really work too well. By the time your child can reach the shelf and work the DVD, you'll have to take extra precautions - parental controls, if you like. I'm not talking about porn here, just any films you have that are a bit adult in theme - you'll probably want to put them out of sight and reach of your 6y/o because you don't want her/him upset by things they don't understand.

Television - a few streams of information, broadcast across a few networks controlled by the government. The watershed more or less works most of the time because broadcasters are licenced and value their licences.

By the way, if you care about the watershed, you might be interested in this article ...

The Commercial Broadcasters Association is lobbying the government to increase the flexibility of its pin protection rules to allow post-watershed shows to air during the day.

I doubt they want a relaxation of the rules for a bit of swearing. I think the watershed is worth preserving for a few more years, for all its faults, because it still makes life a bit easier. It will be obsolete soon though.

Of course pin protection is a parental control, but in this case it's a bit of a blunt instrument. We're with Virgin and it's the same pin for a slightly racy episode of Coronation Street as it is for the porn channels.

The internet - well, according to this page there are 2,405,518,376 internet users in the world (actually a few more now as that was last June), any one of whom could post content to the internet at any time at all, from just about any country in the world. Nobody needs a licence to post anything and there is no committee of worthy people making decisions over what is posted online. Things will be deleted if they are illegal in the country which is hosting the content, but only after it's already been posted.

The internet isn't like TV or cinema, it's is a completely different sort of problem.

This video attempts to estimate the number of images on the internet.

They will not all be helpfully called prettyflower.jpg or violentporn.jpg. The majority will be called things like image001.jpg or picture2.jpg. There is no technology which can reliably tell the difference between porn and innocent content in an image.

This is all just talking about images - the same problems also apply to videos and live content.

Text can be filtered using keywords. It wouldn't be so hard to block any site using the words 'fuck' or 'cunt' or 'bumsex' ... oh, hang on ...

It's OK though because as WuzzleMonkey points out, if Mumsnet gets blocked we can always opt in. Trouble is of course then the whole household has opted in, and opted in for everything.

It's not callous slackness to point out the glaring flaws in this proposal. In fact I think it's pretty slack to keep demanding a magic porn-be-gone button when it clearly won't work.

I am wholeheartedly against an opt-in system because a single on-off button for the whole household is inadequate.

The government, under pressure from internet service providers, has instead gone for a weaker system that prompts new users of broadband to set up parental controls on individual computers.

In terms of actually protecting children this is not a weaker system, it's sensible advice to use the best tools we currently have - far better than the opt-in idea. Parental controls allow you much more control over what to block and can be tweaked for different age DC. This is good because you might want to set things up differently for a 5 y/o and a 13 y/o and porn may not be the only thing you're concerned about online.

Parental controls on their own are not enough and do nothing to stop your DC accessing porn when they are out of your house (no diffence to the opt-in on this point).

What is needed to protect children is ongoing and age appropriate education and support for both DC and their parents.

I could write so much more but this is very long already and I need to go out now.

Tee2072 Sat 25-May-13 08:02:27

Smudging there are plenty of things on the internet that are about things the person who is being written about/shown on video/etc had no control over.

If you limit one, you have to limit them all. And that's what I'm against.

Like what? You ask:

Any article on any news site, really. If it's news, it's published. Whether that news is 'tornado hits Oklahoma' or 'Tom and Katie split up'. The first is, of course, not about a specific person, but the second is. Do you think Tom and Katie approve of or like having their lives all over the news? Of course not. And yes, they can sue for libel if it's not true. But if it is? They have no more recourse than the child in the child porn. Well, except that child porn is illegal of course, but you have to catch the perpetrators first.

As PlentyOfPubeGardens has very eloquently pointed out, the internet is not TV or movies. It's humongous. It's not one computer sitting in the corner of a room, it's billions of them, all linked together. It's why nothing is ever truly deleted from the 'net. It's why it's impossible to police, without doing something like the extreme measures countries like China employ, which doesn't just restrict porn or things they don't want their citizens to know but restricts everything.

There is no way to turn off porn without turning off useful information. And if you have to opt-in? Then there's your name on a list somewhere. And maybe you opted-in to watch videos of people fucking. Or maybe you opted-in because you were searching for breast cancer and couldn't find anything because breast is blocked by not opting-in.

Smudging Sat 25-May-13 08:14:04

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tee2072 Sat 25-May-13 08:28:07

Yes, in the name of free speech.

And porn has been around for millennia, not centuries. So long as there have been humans, there have been humans writing/watching/whatevering porn.

The only human right that is 100% inalienable, in my opinion, is the right to say whatever you want whenever you want to say it wherever you want to say it. With the acknowledgement of doing so might piss off someone or break some law someone thought was necessary.

As soon as you remove that right, you have a dictatorship.

scaevola Sat 25-May-13 08:50:29

There was a whole thread about the Icelandic wishful thinking. Their Prime Minister basically said "surely if we can put a man on the moon, we can do this". This is wishing for a unicorn, not a country that is close to any meaningful ban

Especially as Iceland has not published proposals about how such a ban would work. It's not a case of allowing 'nasties' (whether porn or violence) free rein, just because it's on the Internet. It's because of the very nature of the Internet.

Once someone can show actual, workable proposals, the nature of the debate changes. There is of course the example of North Korea, but I don't think there would be much support for what that looks like.

But right now, there is nothing that would outdo what filters offer already, and the prospect of a magic 'nasties be gone button offers only a false sense of security.

And until then, the responsibility cannot be abdicated to the Governemnt to 'do something'.

Children need educatiing about the dangers of the Internet (not just porn), for that is what will equip them for life. I think it's better done in schools, so that every child learns about this. And it needs to be in primary, because in year 7 it is too late.

Smudging Sat 25-May-13 10:55:46

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

scaevola Sat 25-May-13 11:11:29

When someone, anyone, can show proposals that could work I'd be the first to support it.

Until then, it's like wishing for world peace. Saying that you cannot legislate for that doesn't make you pro-war. It means you look at what is possible, and build on that.

I don't want to leave children vulnerable for the years it would take to develop and impose imperfect centralised measures. It's far more important to educate everyone now.

BasilBabyEater Sat 25-May-13 11:11:33

"Pornography is trivially easy to block in your own home, the problem is parents who won't learn how to do it then blame the government and the ISPs for 'allowing' it to reach their children."

I've blocked porn in my home.

I have no idea about the homes my children go to though. Or the phones their friends pass around.

When they're under secondary school age, you can vet the sort of homes they go to and make a judgement about whether you want them to visit those homes.

When they're in secondary school, it becomes increasingly unreasonable and controlling to forbid them to go to xyz's house - they have the right to choose their own friends.

Telling parents to control their kid's access to porn is like Canute telling the sea to roll back, it's just silly.

I agree with this:

"Those who want violent porn should be the ones who make the effort to seek it out, those who don't want it shouldn't have to try to find ways to avoid it."

And that goes for soft porn as well - we shouldn't have to avoid supermarkets to stop our toddlers seeing women's arses at their eye level.

FloraFox Sat 25-May-13 11:23:09

Tee

Flora you are confusing censorship and acts of law regarding speech that has already occurred.

You have no idea about the legal enforcement of censorship if you would make such a statement. They are all censorship because they penalise "free speech". The distinction you make is illusory. All laws seek to prevent behaviour by deterrence ie penalising acts that have occurred to deter others from carrying out the same acts - that is censorship as much, if not more so, than instituting methods to prevent the speech in the first place.

It's a very arbitrary distinction you are trying to make. But since your position is quite ridiculous, it's not really surprising.

Tee2072 Sat 25-May-13 12:17:51

Whatever.

I still maintain, and will until my dying day, that censorship, of any sort is wrong. And always will be.

Sorry if you feel that you need the government to tell you what to see, think and feel.

I don't.

laverneandshirl Sat 25-May-13 12:43:29

I think a lot of people commenting on this stuff have no bloody idea how bad things are and live in a fucking bubble.

These are criminal acts being distributed and available to see very very easily.

Complete opt-in is the only sane way - it is not censorship but it is a default setting which communicates the message that this is not the norm - and it really isn't. Yes, there may be tech glitches but the message is the same.

We need to demonstrate a collective societal stance against sexual violence and degradation for the mental health and well being of all citizens. The law enshrines physical safety for all already - what's the bloody difference?

Show me the dictatorial nature of an opt-in system????

Well havng thought we were very clever setting up parental controls on our home system we fell at first hurdle when DS tried to google his favorite football team. Arsenal. So I completely see that the opt in scheme might not work very well.

But I completely agree that something needs to be done. Our children are becoming sexualised far too early. Boundaries are being pushed with every music video that the likes of Rihanna etc release. The current Daft Punk song which will apparently be the anthem of the summer, is obviously about sex. Why is this necessary? When did all of this overly sexual content start to be shoved in our faces? Obviously this is somewhat separate to the porn issue but not too much.

I have an 11 year old DS. We try to keep an eye on what he is exposed to. It's easy at home. But what about at friends houses? A woman phoned into Jeremy Vine the other day on the same subject. Her 8 year old DD was at a sleepover with some other 8 year olds and they saw porn on a laptop.

I really don't want my son seeing hideous violent pornographic images and thinking that that is a normal relationship.

So I will watch this thread with interest.

Sheila Sat 25-May-13 13:01:17

I do so agree Laverne. My 13 yo DS has been shown porn on his friends' phones in the school playground. He's deeply troubled by this, so it's not just girls who this affects.

sadly, his school doesn't seem very interested.

scaevola Sat 25-May-13 13:03:17

I'd have no problem with an opt-in system that works, and offers actual protection, not an illusion of it.

Show me one.

Tee - how is it censorship if you can choose to opt in? It's not being banned. Just put in a locked box as it were but you can have the key.

BasilBabyEater Sat 25-May-13 13:46:03

His school should be interested Sheila.

The NSPCC is quite clear that showing children pornography, is in of itself an act of child abuse.

If the school is facilitating child abuse on its premises by not addressing this issue, it will come a cropper.

A letter to the governors might help.

BasilBabyEater Sat 25-May-13 13:47:06

Yeah if I choose not to have porn being beamed into my house, then, wah, that's censorship?

Righto.

hmm

grimbletart Sat 25-May-13 14:29:25

Of course opt in is not censorship. If it could be achieved it would be great. If you want to buy something you either go to a shop and ask for it or order it off amazon or some such.

If there are people who need a porn fix then they should be able to order it just like any other commodity. We should not have to have the stuff appearing on our computers when we google a simple word.

scaevola Sat 25-May-13 14:55:13

As I asked above, can anyone show an actual system that does that?

Clue: no. No such system exists. There is no use crying out for a unicorn. Especially when we already have horses which already do the same job.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

libertarianj Sat 25-May-13 16:02:03

Totally agree Tee and Scaevelo and nicely summarised plentyofpube
Porn filters aren't going to work,unless you want to censor practically everything.
If the government did go down this opt in route i reckon the vast majority of people would still go for the unfiltered option rather than have to put with a very broken internet, regardless of their porn preferences.

This blog entry comes accross as a daily mail esque scarmongering attempt which has simply cherry picked some bad cases and porn is being used as a scapegoat for persons bad behaviour/ poor education.

laverneandshirl Sat 25-May-13 16:07:06

Can't we put pressure on ISP's to develop something which allows individual sites to be 'unblocked'?

I.e. opt in to block everything and then opt in to individual sites on a site by site basis determined by the user as you search for things e.g. Arsenal/Breast cancer charities.

Remember ppl don't have to use the system as they can deliberately opt out.

I'm sure a lot of ppl with kids would put up with the minor inconvenience.

scaevola Sat 25-May-13 16:48:25

It would be better to use device based filters for that, lavernandshirl, as they already exist and of course stay in place if you eg go on holiday and use a hotel connection.

OrangeFootedScrubfowl Sat 25-May-13 17:02:37

As a child of about 8/9, I came across a family member's porn collection, which was mainly violent rape based. Being pre internet, it was just prose, no pictures.
This experience, and how it affected me for many years to come, makes me believe that graphic and disturbing porn images are a terrifying threat to our children and I truly despair when I consider how all their future relationships could be shaped by what they see in the world they are growing up in.

FloraFox Sat 25-May-13 17:06:28

The only human right that is 100% inalienable, in my opinion, is the right to say whatever you want whenever you want to say it wherever you want to say it. With the acknowledgement of doing so might piss off someone or break some law someone thought was necessary.

As soon as you remove that right, you have a dictatorship.

That is the political analysis of a 10 year old.

ecclesvet Sat 25-May-13 17:14:06

I think if they somehow managed to achieve the impossible and develop a system that accurately blocked only pornography, then you should have to opt-in to the blocking, not opt-in to the uncensored Internet.

ecclesvet Sat 25-May-13 17:19:55

When I was at school, the 'parental controls' software blocked any racist/sexist words, and blocked pictures which were largely skin colour.

It completely hampered everyone's work on Othello and To Kill A Mockingbird, and you'd better hope that the site you wanted to load didn't have a picture of anything skin coloured (not to mention it only considered 'skin tone' to be pinkish-white).

I wouldn't trust the government to put in place anything better to be honest.

Sausageeggbacon Sat 25-May-13 17:48:14

Well don't think Iceland will be interested in going further with this now as the government changed in the recent elections.

Serious the average 13 year old can bypass security if they want to, I know mine can. Even with the opt in you will not be sure what kids are seeing as they can probably get round it and as has been said you have no control over kids friends whose parents have opted in.

So likely to cost a fortune, likely not to work and even after all that people will still have the same worries. Prefer the idea that SRE changes to RSE so the emphasis is put on the relationship aspect in education as recommended in the report.

Smudging Sat 25-May-13 18:26:25

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

katykuns Sat 25-May-13 22:05:58

What if a law was passed that forbid porn sites from being accessible by standard internet searches, punishment by hefty fine... and then they make a porn database, which you have to have valid ID to opt in to?
Then its not a matter of having the ISP ban all sites with breasts and arsenals, but actually like a mini separate Internet just for porn?

Just an idea grin sure it will have flaws confused

chocoluvva Sat 25-May-13 22:10:47

Tee Facebook recently removed a video of a brutal murder. Would you feel better if FB hadn't violated your 'right' to have seen that?

We don't let children have easy access to other things that harm them such as alcohol and tobacco. Why fight to protect their right to experience violent porn? To spare you some inconvenience?

FairPhyllis Sat 25-May-13 23:07:13

Haven't read all of the thread but my one word answer to OP's question would be 'patriarchy'.

As in, as a society we prioritise men's ability (I say men because most porn users are male) to easily access violent, objectifying and (frequently) racist porn over the interests of any other group, just because they are men. Even if we dress it up as a free speech issue, that is what we are actually doing.

Men don't see it as an issue because 1) they can have porn whenever they want it; and 2) exposing children to porn and a porn-influenced culture entrenches the status quo of patriarchy. It's a win-win for them.

The emphasis needs to be not on children, but on porn users themselves - examining what they get out of porn, what it says about how they view women, what wider effect their attitude to women has on society and why we defend their right to easily access and watch the exploitation of women's bodies up to the point that children are being affected by it.

Coming at it from the angle of protecting children is laudable but is all backwards. We have to start with the root. We have to publically win the argument that porn entrenches a harmful societal power dynamic and that those who use it are culpable for what it represents and what it does.

JoyMachine Sat 25-May-13 23:10:38

Katykuns- laws passed in the UK do not actually hold jurisdiction in other countries. The internet is an international entity- you cannot legislate here, and expect someone in Jakarta to abide by our laws.

libertarianj Sat 25-May-13 23:28:09

Alternatively parents could stop being so lazy and go through the minor INCONVENIENCE of installing filters on their kids machines which they can tailor to whatever their morals and beliefs are. This would also cost the tax payer nothing and would mean not paying more to your ISP to administer all this filtering which would be a mammoth task and very expensive.

I also find it amusing that some of posters on here in favour of child friendly filtering and censorship are the ones getting all angry, effing and blinding. I am pretty sure the word 'fuck' would definitely be out of bounds on the filter you so desire. So this site would be off limits straight away. Alternatively MN would have to adopt a no swearing policy like rival site netmums, as to not exclude those with filtering enabled.

BasilBabyEater Sat 25-May-13 23:41:01

Again... parents can put filters on their own computers.

They can't do anything about their children's friends' computers.

katykuns Sat 25-May-13 23:50:10

ahh damn JoyMachine, fell at the first hurdle grin

Snorbs Sat 25-May-13 23:55:19

I absolutely agree that the accessibility of porn and other unpleasant material on the Internet is a cause for deep concern for parents.

But this does not mean that asking, or legally forcing, ISPs to provide an opt-in facility is the solution. The place to do the filtering is on the computer because that way it can be tailored. If you want an ISP that provides opt-in right now you can vote with your wallet and get exactly that. TalkTalk does it as do several others.

But opt-in has a number of significant issues (as TalkTalk itself admits in the Q&A it did with Mumsnet here). Selectively blocking access to certain websites at the ISP means that the ISP can't tell if it's you accessing the web or your child.

So if this ISP-level filter is only blocking porn websites then that means that even if the filter's turned on your child can still get access to deeply troubling images of violent injuries and death on sites such as rotten.com. They may well be still able to access big multi-purpose sites such as reddit or 4chan where a small part of the site might be providing pornographic images but the majority of it isn't. They may still be able to access slash fiction, pornographic stories of sometimes quite violent and degrading sex acts between fictional characters.

OK, you may say, let's just have the ISP-level filter block all that nasty stuff as well. Fair enough. Let's block everything that isn't child-friendly...

...Except at that point you realise you've just been blocked from accessing mumsnet (as well as a host of grown-up, non-porn websites). There are posts here with quite explicit descriptions of sexual acts. The language can be gob-smacking. I certainly don't want my kids getting here.

If you think I'm exaggerating there was a poster a year or two back who said that the opt-in filtering on her Orange smartphone did indeed block mumsnet.

So in that scenario with ISP-level filtering you have one of three choices. 1) You can say goodbye to mumsnet.
2) You can opt-in to being able to access any and everything in which case you'll still need filtering capabilities on the PCs etc to stop your kids getting to objectionable content, or
3) You can turn the filter off (ie, opt-in the porn'n'all) when you want to access mumsnet and just hope that your kids don't use that opportunity to get to anything nasty. You the turn the filter back on when you've finished on mumsnet. TalkTalk recommends this very strategy but I think it's bollocks personally.

If a parent is letting their teenage child have uncontrolled and unmonitored access to the Internet then that parent is either woefully under-informed, downright stupid and/or criminally uncaring. None of those would be resolved by ISP-level filtering. Filtering on the PC does at least avoid the most egregious of these problems.

Ultimately the way to deal with these issues is not the deeply flawed ISP-level filtering idea but having parents who can put the effort in to find out how to keep their children safe and to monitor what their children are doing on the Internet.

Snorbs Sat 25-May-13 23:59:59

They can't do anything about their children's friends' computers.

This is true. Consider this analogy: Your child goes to a friend's house. At that house the parents leave violent horror and/or pornographic DVDs lying around with a fully-functional DVD player and TV within easy reach. Your child's friend puts one of those DVDs into the player and they both sit and watch it. At no point do the parents intervene or even pop their head round the door to see what the kids are up to.

Is this:
a) An appalling failure of parenting, or

b) A technological issue that should be resolved by ensuring that no-one can buy, borrow or otherwise obtain any movies above a 12A without first writing to a central register to request that they can?

libertarianj Sun 26-May-13 00:38:07

^Again... parents can put filters on their own computers.

They can't do anything about their children's friends' computers.^

and Again how do you know that your children's friends have opted for ISP level filtering? i'd be very surprised if many peeps would, given the numerous flaws already highlighted in this thread and very nicely explained by Snorbs above.

ravenAK Sun 26-May-13 01:23:18

Not this again!

It's just not practical to Make The Internet Stop Being Nasty.

Nor is it feasible to Make It Stop Being Available - some countries have tried it, notably the UAE. It doesn't work - anyone who's ever lived in the countries in question can tell you how to use a proxy server to get past it.

What you CAN do is to put filters on your dc's devices - & don't allow them a smartphone if you don't understand how to filter it. They honestly don't need one, just to ring & let you know that they're off to netball practice & will be getting a lift home with a mate's dad etc. A very basic brick will do all that.

(But if you're anything like the parents of 90% of my KS3 students, you'll go with the peer pressure & let them have a phone which you don't know how to use.

Just don't then expect them not to be sent porn on said phone.)

& you keep the PC in a family room, with a filter on it.

& THEN you accept that their best mate's parents are quite possibly doing none of this - & consequently, your dc will inevitably at some stage come across something appalling. If it's not already been accessed by them on their mobile, of course, & also assuming they aren't the one disseminating it.

So you talk to them about how they'll react when they DO see something distressing. & about how porn images aren't a healthy model for anyone's teenage relationships....

100 years ago, given the then tendency to live in multi-generation households & die at home, our dc would have routinely seen dead bodies; given crowded living conditions, the children of the less well off would probably have been regularly exposed to the sight of adult family members having sex; given then attitudes to dv, they'd certainly have been much more likely to see violence within the home.

That's not to say that any of those things is desirable; just that the problem of dc seeing things we'd rather they shouldn't is very much not a new one.

It's absolutely correct that we need to do our best to shield our children from inappropriate online content, but we do need to acknowledge that we're ultimately going to fail.

There's got to be a Plan B - which is where education about sensible internet use comes in - from parents & from schools.

The magic unicorn solution of 'well, let's make all the dodgy stuff opt in, via some non-existent technology that politicians occasionally pretend to believe in on This Morning'? It doesn't exist, it's not ever going to exist, & people are wasting an awful lot of time wudgering on wistfully about it instead of making use of the practical options already available.

Dorange Sun 26-May-13 09:21:59

My friend caught her 6 year old seeing porn photos on her husbands Ipad the other day. The Ipad was locked with a password that the child didn't know. The child was trying to find out the password and the photos came out. Obviously the husband had been accessing porn on that tablet but he thought that a password would protect it and it didn't. I was there and I saw the pictures on the background of the password box. I was sick. Why is the conference on a Tuesday afternoon?? If it was on a Saturday much more people would be able to attend.

chocoluvva Sun 26-May-13 11:35:31

FairPhyllis - I agree that the root of the problem is the demand for it.

I don't know enough about the practicality of opt-in IT systems or filters, but I would think that the easy availability of porn feeds the demand for it as well as exposing young people to its damaging effects.

I would want to use filters/opt-in systems as well as attempts to change our oversexualised, misogynistic culture.

Great posts, Snorbs and ravenAK.

I don't think it's helpful to be calling parents lazy or stupid at this point (even if some of them are).

I think part of the problem is that our DC are the first generation growing up as 'digital natives' and many of their parents, particularly those in their 40s and 50s - a likely age to have teenagers - have no hope of ever understanding the technology to the extent that their children already do.

I see a lot of people this sort of age who are actually quite scared of it all. They're just muddling through, using email and FB, browsing the web and using whatever applications they need to for work, but not really understanding the importance of things like antivirus, firewalls, software updates etc. and anything that needs installing or configuring, they'd rather leave to someone else.

They know they've been left behind, they're not lazy or stupid, they're a bit scared and frequently embarrassed.

(I'm coming at this as someone who didn't know how to switch a computer on until I was 30, by the way, and I'm not that old now)

So in terms of education, I think we need to provide parents with much better information and support around all the dangers their children may encounter online and what they can do about it. And to help them feel confident to do this.

I'd like to see regular, age appropriate internet safety sessions for parents and children in all schools, focussing not only on porn but on the whole range of risks - violent material, disclosure of personal info, bullying, grooming, extreme political and religious sites, pro-suicide and pro-ana sites, illegal downloads, ID theft etc. Parents could also bring in laptops, phones and other devices and there could be technicians on hand to help them install and configure filtering software.

I love FairPhyllis 's post.

We have to publically win the argument that porn entrenches a harmful societal power dynamic and that those who use it are culpable for what it represents and what it does.

There will always be new technology so any technological solution will only ever be a short-term stop-gap. Until we win this argument and the creation, distribution and use of porn becomes simply unacceptable, we will always be playing catch-up and tying ourselves in knots trying to mitigate the terrible effects of this industry on not only our children but on all of us.

So I do not agree that porn is 'free speech' - a concept I didn't think applied in the UK in any case. I do however think there are civil liberties issues with the opt-in proposal. It puts in place technology which could very easily be used in the future for extreme censorship, such as exists in China. However unlikely that is, it makes me very uneasy.

I have talked at great length with my 12yo about what to do should she come across something which makes her feel uncomfortable.

We have parental controls on all devices.

Adult channels are blocked on tv.

Yet she still managed to view porn of the most extreme type at a sleepover. The child's parents had not installed software to prevent this.
Dd had nightmares for weeks.
She kept asking if what she saw was 'normal'.
She said the sounds wouldn't leave her mind.

Talking about how to deal with these situations when they arise will not erase the horror of what she saw.

All children have a right to be protected. Not just children whose parents have the knowledge and forethought to protect them.
I work in an inner city primary and most children there have unlimited access to the Internet.
Why shouldn't they have the right to be kept safe?
Their parents might not care- but we should.

libertarianj Sun 26-May-13 20:55:52

so these proposals to introduce porn filters would have helped your daughters predicament in what way exactly? as i said before i reckon most persons would opt out anyway, as they won't be able to use their internet propperly.

We have all seen things that upset us, give us nightmares. That's life i am affraid and it's all part of growing up. Also extreme porn has been going on well before the internet, back in my day kids used to exhange videos and magazines in the playground. There was always some kid who would bring in his dad's library of hardcore imports.

chocoluvva Sun 26-May-13 21:23:07

Porn was definitely not as prevalent 20+ years ago as now. Magazines and videos are less accessible to children and were less socially acceptable. Also, their content was usually less extreme.

"it's all part of growing up" - how sad. I didn't see porn when I was a child. I would have been very disturbed. Don't you think our children have a right to be innocent? No-one needs porn. The 'need' it satisifies is not a justification for the damage it does to impressionable young people.

Also extreme porn has been going on well before the internet, back in my day kids used to exhange videos and magazines in the playground. There was always some kid who would bring in his dad's library of hardcore imports.

This is true. Back in the 70s when I was 9 I found a pile of european s&m magazines in a ditch in the woods. The content and themes were as shocking as anything I've seen in recent years (although there was a lot more hair). The images are still there in my head whenever I remember the incident. I didn't tell anybody. Nobody talked to DC about sex much back then, let alone porn. My mother would have been thoroughly out of her depth if I had tried to talk about what I had seen.

I do think the internet is a game changer though because it's massively increased the volume and availability of extreme porn.

It would be a bit like if they provided a mains supply of alcohol, so in your kitchen you had 'hot', 'cold' and 'wine' taps. I suspect alcohol would cause many more problems than it already does if that was the set up.

We have all seen things that upset us, give us nightmares. That's life i am affraid and it's all part of growing up.

This is shockingly callous. Nobody's child needs to grow up with that shit in their head. I would wholeheatedly support anything I thought would genuinely protect children from exposure to porn. Sadly the opt-in isn't it.

Seeing images and videos of women being abused and humiliated should not be 'part of growing up' for anyone.

Part of growing up is taking responsibility for your actions and their effects on others. Porn users need to grow up.

ravenAK Sun 26-May-13 21:50:17

I actually fully agree with MoreCrack & chocoluvva that a lot of the porn available freely online is damaging to anyone who is exposed to it.

& gruesome stuff too - my year 8 students were quite surprised last week that I disagreed with that video of the suspected perpetrator in Woolwich being shown on the news. They'd all seen much worse on youtube than that apparently sad.

I'm really not saying that it's OK for dc to be able to access distressing, disorientating or desensitising online content.

I just don't agree with facile solutions that won't actually protect IT-savvy teenagers. No one needs porn, fine. No one ever needed malaria, but that doesn't mean that we should be addressing it by getting Derren Brown to hypnotise the global population of mosquitoes into taking up vegetarianism...which is about as credible as the logistics of a national opt-in to adult content.

libertarianj Sun 26-May-13 23:07:20

Plenty sorry if it does sound callous but it's the grim reality. I agree in an ideal world we shouldn't have to be exposed to these violent images. However using the recent Woolwich incident for example these things are pretty unavoidable.

"We have all seen things that upset us, give us nightmares. That's life i am affraid and it's all part of growing up."

You are wrong.
The pornography my daughter was exposed to was filmed abuse of a woman.
That is not part of growing up. If a child disclosed to me they had viewed similar images I would have huge CP and safeguarding concerns.

The laptop on which she viewed these images belonged to a child. I am sure that if it had automatic filtering my daughter could have avoided this situation.

It is ridiculous to suggest that porn is no more of a problem now than in the 70s. It is far more accessible. It is shaping an entire generations sexual habits. 11yo girls shaving their pubic hair, for example. Boys conditioned to believe that is the norm.

I feel very angry that anyone would suggest I should accept this as a 'normal' part of growing up.

ravenAK Sun 26-May-13 23:56:22

MoreCrack: I entirely get why you would like there to be some sort of 'automatic filtering' in place, & agree with the rest of your post about the accessibility of porn.

I'd like to have an automatic protective forcefield that surrounds my dc, Ready Brek advert style, & stops them catching colds/d&v bugs/nits from their classmates.

But no one's managed to develop one. There's overwhelming reasons to conclude that it just isn't realistically do-able.

So be angry about the prevalence & cultural acceptance of porn, by all means, but 'I am sure that if it had automatic filtering...' is a blind alley.

chastemccain Mon 27-May-13 05:46:57

Hi, could NessaYork or anyone else who knows tell me about 'Girls' please. I assume it is a doco explaining porn's crapness to girls. What age group is it aimed at? TIA.

libertarianj Mon 27-May-13 06:24:31

It is ridiculous to suggest that porn is no more of a problem now than in the 70s. It is far more accessible. It is shaping an entire generations sexual habits. 11yo girls shaving their pubic hair, for example. Boys conditioned to believe that is the norm.

the jury is still out on this, there's little evidence to suggest this is the case.

There's great article here regarding this. It's from a young persons perspective and i totally agree with it:

www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/25/online-porn-facts-fantasy

FairPhyllis Mon 27-May-13 08:26:26

If porn is the only depiction of sex a child ever sees then it will inevitably shape their view of it. They won't have anything to compare it to.

I don't understand why people pretend that we aren't conditioned by our audio visual media culture. If we weren't, then advertising or Fox News wouldn't be able to shape people's opinions.

Seeing porn is not part of growing up. I never saw any until I was about 17/8 (and I am 31 now). It certainly wasn't circulating in my primary school - if it had been, anyone bringing it in would have been stamped on pdq.

Saying 'it's the grim reality' - for crying out loud. Is it really too much for women and girls to aspire to living in a world where men don't routinely watch sexual abuse and humiliation for thrills? Can we not even hope for that?

Hey women! Set your standards for how you expect to be treated as a group even lower than you can have thought possible!

Sheila Mon 27-May-13 09:20:48

Libertarianj - do you have kids?

Sheila Mon 27-May-13 09:23:36

FairPhyllis - totally agree with you but please remember that it's boys who need protecting too.

pinkballetflats Mon 27-May-13 09:57:30

So we have a blunt instrument that bans anything that could look remotely like it could be unsuitable for children....it really does sound good but for the fact that one couldn't even (with the way current filters work) google their favourite football team. I smu understanding correct there?

And then we have the problem that we can put legislature in place within our jurisdiction, but someone else in another jurisdiction with different laws could upload something, and call it something that seems innocuous enough, and hey presto - it's there for children to come across.

Then we have incidents such as this one...

www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2011/10/17/sesame-street-youtube-cha_n_1015076.html

how would the filtering systems stop that?

The man who installed my new broadband the other day talked to me about their opt in system and told me that it won't stop everything - his daughter was looking for Peppa Pig on youtube and someone had uploaded a video of Peppa Pig and dubbed it...how do we stop that? Guess youtube (with all it's very useful videos - eg maths games, solar system videos, science experiments for kids etc that we regularly use) needs to be banned.

Is there anything that could be put in place to filter the offensive stuff without getting rid of good, useful information?

It seems to me that there isn't, and there possibly can't be? Unless some one somewhere can come up with an implant for each individual parent that can be connected directly to the internet and a filter system and can automatically read our thoughts on what we dont' want our children to see and instantly block any image and/or text that fits with our values.

I don't want my child seeing disturbing stuff - but relying on filters, governments etc to put measures in place will only do so much, and it seems a lot of it is pretty ineffective.

Do we ban the internet all together? And if we did, when that didn't work because people are till allowed to buy magazines/DVDs/Books etc do we ban those forms of information dissemination too...

And when that doesn't work because people are people and there are criminals and sickos out there who won't let something as trivial at the banning of various communication mediums get in their way, do we then just lock our kids in their rooms and not let them out till they are 18?

The only thing I can see that would be truly helpful is education - of parents and of children.

FairPhyllis Mon 27-May-13 10:02:21

Oh I do agree that boys are affected negatively by porn too. Porn culture seeks to control the way boys' sexuality develops and pushes them into harmful gender roles. But I am coming at this from the pov that the negative effects of porn are on the whole stronger for women and girls. Because porn on the whole tells men 'you can have whatever turns you on sexually' while women are told 'your role in sex is facilitating men's wants'.

Raven, could you explain in simple terms the problems arising from automatic filtering? I don't know enough about it to be clear on the issues.

I agree with you, I am angry about the accessibility, acceptability and nature of porn.
It's not comparable to sickness bugs or headlice. My daughter's first experience of sex/viewing explicit material was nasty, aggressive and frightening. Who knows how this will shape her feelings about sexuality? I certainly can't change that with a nit comb.

libertarianj, I absolutely believe you are wrong.
The article you linked to contains research suggesting porn is shaping children's sexuality.
Aside from this, I see the effects regularly in my work (CP and safeguarding related). I am managing at least one or two situations each week where children are discussing or disclosing to adults their experiences of pornography.
I am also seeing increased amounts of sexualised behaviour.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 27-May-13 18:55:54

No one has yet mentioned the difficulties that smart phones bring to this.

pinkballetflats Mon 27-May-13 19:53:37

Boney - DP and I were discussing this the other day...DC is not yet 10 and I know some children have smart phones at that age (I feel it's too young personally)

I am with one mobile phone provider who has automatic filtering of anything dubious and I've used them enough online to feel that for the most part it seems to work - for example I can still search for things such as Arsenal, breast etc...although homebirth videos are out...this provider I am with requires you to provide bank account details to prove you are over 18 for access to adult content...but that doesn't get rid of problmes such as youtube feeds getting hijacked and kids using their phones to video/photograph inappropriate behaviour and post it online...the CEOP youtube channel has a very good series of videos surrounding kids posting online videos and how easily things can get out of hand...

again I come back to educating parents and children and giving ids the tools they can use to protect themselves because it is impossible to protect anyone 100% from anything.

BoneyBackJefferson Mon 27-May-13 20:10:35

Some providers now share signals, you could be bounced from a provider that has blocks to one that doesn't. Or even children unlocking their phone and putting a different sim card in.

There is still the issue that children are walking around with mobile computers in their pockets. You can still facebook, email, send and recieve videos from 'friends'.

Many sites have sites set up for mobiles (piratebay got around the ban for a while by becoming .se) and you can still use proxy servers and set up a vpn tunnel from your phone.

Remember as well that if your child takes their phone cable into school and the school hasn't blocked the usb ports for storage devices they can run browsers that the school ICT systems cannot recognise and therefore cannot stop.

pinkballetflats Mon 27-May-13 20:23:18

I really really think it's a bad idea for schools to allow phones with picture, video and internet capabilities....but again, apart form just banning them what do they do about the kids who flaunt the rule?

Julierose Mon 27-May-13 20:28:14

This topic has been worrying me for a while. I monitor my son and daughter's internet use, have placed parental locks on their phones and try very hard to strike a balance between good parenting and authoritive policing.

However, when my children are with their friends - at school or their homes - I cannot control their access to online filth. I do not feel 100% confident that they are are safely protected from it. And as such what options do I have? Ban them from going to friends' houses? Many parents may work hard to protect their children, but it takes only one parent's unintentional complacency to unravel everything.

As a parent I really do feel as though both my hands are tied when it comes to protecting my children from accessing online porn.

ravenAK Mon 27-May-13 21:31:32

MoreCrack - this article sums it up quite well.

Basically:

1) any even vaguely effective filter would block so much innocuous & useful content that it would make just about everyone 'opt in' within days. We have a strict filter at work (I'm a teacher). Obvious reasons why it's there, but it's a complete PITA - it won't let me on youtube to show poetry analysis videos to my GCSE group, for example.

2) Luckily, albeit hardly in the spirit of the thing, I can always just ask the nearest kid the address of the current proxy route to any site I wanted to access. The IT techies play perpetual whackamole blocking proxies - the kids are perpetually about five steps ahead. If they put half as much ingenuity & knowhow into revising for their exams...

3) A false sense of security is never a good thing where kids are concerned. Technologically naive parents will rely on the 'great firewall' - & will have no idea that every 7 yo in the country is bypassing it with ease.

www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2010/dec/20/web-filtering-will-not-work

rioannie Tue 28-May-13 00:18:23

I think it is shocking with lads mags and abuse of women in this day and age. Men have lost their control and identity which is why they are either gay or abuses. Not all of them but women have to accept that decent law abiding men who respect women are few and far and this stems from women having a distorted view of control of sex and porn. Women will and can never be in control of porn by its very nature and we are causing our own damage of future generations by our own distorted views. Accept that u are not in control by showing your tits. Men are!!!!

inraolyn Tue 28-May-13 10:39:14

I didn't see any porn of any sort until I was in my late teens/early twenties (I am now 26). I put this down to not having had internet access at home, and being the sort of sheltered child who had no idea about lads' magazines.

I found some romance fiction in my late teens (you know, Mills & Boon type stuff) and I had a sort of shame-faced addiction to it. I read the books but I was terrified of my mum finding out because I figured it was something bad.

My sex education consisted of the school biology stuff and the pretty much useless "how it all works". My mum handed me a book to explain the rest and I was too mortified to have been given a book with the word "sex" on the cover to even open it. She never asked me about it again.

Now, I would say I was about as protected from porn and sex as you can get. My own initial forays into my own sexuality were as a result full of shame and the conviction that there must be something wrong with me, and no one must ever find out. (This is something of a tangent, but bear with me. I promise I have a point.) I consider myself the equivalent of the girl whose parents opted out of porn on the internet (should such a filter ever actually work. I doubt it will). I didn't have a mobile until I was 16 (they'd been common when I was 12 or so) and I only visited friends very sparingly and had limited access to credit.

So did my mum protect me from the big bad world? Nope. My dad was more laid back; we used to watch things like the Terminator films at dinnertime, though we never watched stuff of a sexual nature and he never really mentioned it (I guess he figured my sister and I were girls and my mum was dealing with that so it wasn't his place). He did express concerns that we (particularly me, as my sister had a wider circle of friends and I was a bookworm) were too naive and wouldn't know how to cope with the Real World (TM). And you know what? He was right.

When I was 18 I almost had unprotected sex with a guy I'd met that day because he had bought me drinks and gotten me tipsy, and I had no idea that was a thing. All I knew about drink safety was about drinks being spiked, not about just being gotten drunk enough to be more suggestible. I was lucky I sobered up a bit on the walk to the hotel, but it was a close, close thing.

I then entered into a relationship with my XH, who was far more sexually experienced than I was (he knew I was a virgin when we met) and who acted as though my not doing this or that was me being unusual. I was pressured into anal sex, and into simulated rape, and to considering a lot more, not because I wanted to, but because he wanted to. And I thought that probably I was the one with the problem, because of course he knew a lot more than me. What I thought or what I felt, those things didn't matter. I said yes to making him happy without asking myself why I did things which made me unhappy.

It's only now that I've left him and met someone who values me as a person that I realise what happened to me (and he has the patience of a saint to want to wait and work through my issues before we do anything). That for all my mother's attempts to protect me, I was left completely vulnerable, because no one ever sat down and told me what healthy sex was, what a healthy relationship was, or explained just how important my right to say no and to only do things which I actively wanted to do was. All the filters in my childhood did nothing except leave me vulnerable to someone who was more "worldy wise".

And you know what? Yes, it was porn which made XH the way he is. He boasted about losing his virginity at 13, and other exploits. But that's not going to go away. The "porn away" button doesn't exist, and even if it did, people will still see porn, and they will still see the sort of graphic, dehumanising stuff which portrays women as objects to be used and abused. My XH doesn't consider anything he did wrong. After all, I "could have said no". The damage is not just the porn then. It's that no one ever sat down with me and explained what "consent" really means, and no one ever sat down with him and explained that hey, just because someone younger and more inexperienced than you agrees to something, it doesn't mean that's actually something they want to do. It could just be that they're scared to say "no".

That education doesn't come from banning porn. That comes from a positive action, not a negative one. It comes from a real, thorough education.

And don't get me wrong. Porn that is abusive, porn that features horrific images, unwilling women or even children, that stuff needs to be tackled too. But it's a separate problem that needs to be tackled at the source, not at the ISP. And it's going to take a lot longer than even an internet filter, because the only real solution is to educate the next generations now and stop them making the stuff. Which, hey, is even more unicorn like than a "porn out" filter, but at least educating our own kids, male and female alike (I have a DS and a DD and I no more want my DS growing up to have his father's attitude to sex than I want my DD to be a victim of it).

inraolyn Tue 28-May-13 10:45:16

oops, posted without finishing that sentence:

But at least educating our own kids, male and female alike, will add that many more people to the pool of those who respect each other and who have the confidence in themselves to say "no".

Lucylloyd13 Tue 28-May-13 10:46:27

One of the first responses I read to this was “it’s disgusting”, frankly that is not good enough.

Teenagers are curious about sex, most parents are lousy at talking about it, the ready accessibility of porn has just fuelled the natural filling of a void.

We are probably fighting a losing battle against porn . Firstly “what is it?” Not as easy a question to answer as you might imagine. With easy access on smart phones, and video cameras on all smart phones, this has gone way beyond opting in or out on the family computer.
Most parents would be aghast at what is freely and readily available on payment free porn sites. A huge gulf is opening up between parents and children who have an access to porn which was simply not there a generation ago. Parents who struggle to talk about “where babies come from” to their children now really should be having to cover anal sex, urination, group sex, same sex, domination, submission and sado masochism – because that is what our children are seeing.

Context is all. What is acceptable and what isn’t? The questions raised are quite profound. I think that on mums net there would be agreement on the wrongs of child sex and bestiality, the basis for the wrong is consent and mutuality. But what about oral sex? Some see it as perfectly natural- others regard it as disgusting.

The debate is far more profound than the cry “its disgusting/ something should be done/ ban it”

pinkballetflats Tue 28-May-13 11:02:21

Sorry to de-rail the thread but I couldn't let this go...

Men who are abusers and men who are gay (and I dont' think kyou can really put wither "category" next to each other in general) are who they are because of porn? Really?

The point I found interesting in the blog was the distinction between porn and sexual violence against women, which is what we often mean by "porn" these days.

There is a huge lack of awareness of what is available on the internet. When the internet started, you needed credit cards, etc. to access hardcore porn. Now you don't.

We can install some filters, but they won't work all the time. What we can do is educate our children and tell them that there is a difference between porn, sexual violence and "bog standard" sex which you have in a loving relationship. That "bog standard" sex may include things which are seen in porn films, if that's what floats your boat, but it doesn't have to.

If we see this as a losing battle, then we have lost. We need to quit being embarassed about sex and have frank discussions with our children about the power of images and the internet.

gloucestergirl Tue 28-May-13 13:00:27

I do want the government to do something for a very simple reason: I can prevent (or try the best I can) my own daughter from looking at porn, but I can do bugger all to stop someone else's kid.

I don't my daughter coming into contact with someone who has had hours of watching porn during their formative years for learning and experimenting with sexual behaviour. End of story.

Even if filters don't work all of the time. Something that works some of the time for some of the stuff is better than nothing. I imagine it to be as trying to catch drug dealers and the like. Better to get some, rather than say "sod this for a game of soldiers let's give up because we can get all of them". Since when has not being able to do something perfectly been a good reason for doing nothing?

inraolyn Tue 28-May-13 13:19:06

@ gloucestergirl

The problem is, the government could do all they liked to try and ban porn, but it's pie in the sky. If there was actually a workable way of screening out porn and only porn, and if it wasn't something that any kid worth their salt could worm their way around in just a couple of hours after a quick internet lesson on Redditt or 4chan, perhaps you'd have something. That's assuming the people who "opted in" for their own reasons were tech savvy enough to realise that the ISP is per household and not per computer, so adults wanting to watch porn would only be able to do so when the kids are asleep/out of the house and then remember to opt out again when they're done.

But that's not the situation. No such tech exists, and pretending it does is just deluding yourself. The solution is to educate kids, not stick your head in the sand and hope that someone else will fix it.

Alicadabra Tue 28-May-13 15:11:52

I'm really really surprised by the Arsenal story cited here as an example of how heavy-handed these filtering systems are - I can't believe it's representative of the majority of them today. I used to work on a football messageboard almost ten years ago and even back then our automated systems were clever enough to recognise that the likes of 'arsenal' and 'scunthorpe' weren't expletives.

Alicadabra Tue 28-May-13 15:19:10

BTW, I'm not saying that technology is the solution - just that it isn't completely useless. I'll use safe search etc because it reduces the chances of my DDs discovering stuff by accident. I won't rely on it to do my parenting for me.

handsfullnow Tue 28-May-13 16:20:03

In a civilised society that gives claims to gender equality there is no place for violent and degrading gender hatred that is the diet of most online pornography.

The government regulates against racism, it regulates against homophobia, so why are women fair game?

Yes pornography has been around for millions of years but so has racism and child abuse but we now regulate against that. It's what marks us out as a civilised society.

If you are arguing for free speech, presumably you think the TV watershed is a waste of time? Why is TV regulated but print and internet not?

There is only one reason for the lack of regulation, the free market economy: it's making some people lots of money. This is at the expense of children's wellbeing and it is beyond disgraceful that the government does not protect children purely because of profit.

What I find even more unbelievable is that Mumsnet and some parents on here (the very few people in our society who you would like to think care about the welfare of children) are not speaking out on this issue.

We should all be demanding that the government implement the opt-in solution immediately and stop wittering on about free-speech which is completely irrelevant when talking about the protection of minors.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 28-May-13 16:55:25

handsfullnow

"We should all be demanding that the government implement the opt-in solution immediately and stop wittering on about free-speech which is completely irrelevant when talking about the protection of minors."

What part of it won't work don't you understand?

handsfullnow Tue 28-May-13 17:46:09

@BoneyBackJFefferson

What part of how do you know it won't work until you try it and we should really try are you having problems with?

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 28-May-13 17:54:30

handsfull

I can see that you are being obtuse, but there is no technology available that will block porn as an opt in.

You can try as much as you like but it won't work.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 28-May-13 17:55:09

*that will just block porn

handsfullnow Tue 28-May-13 18:41:17

@BoneyBackJefferson

If it won't work why is it being put forward as an option by the government? Or do you know more than their advisors on this subject?

"May 2013: Claire Perry who chaired the Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection welcomed the news that the Prime Minster will launch a consultation into child protection on the internet which will include a formal review of "Opt-In" access to adult content."

Surely blocking some porn is better than blocking no porn. Since when did an imperfect system stop a system being implemented?

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 28-May-13 19:26:58

"If it won't work why is it being put forward as an option by the government?"

You would have to ask the government

"Or do you know more than their advisors on this subject?"

If you could give me the names of the advisors I will have a look and come back to you on that, but I am fairly sure that I know as much if not more than a financial advisor that read history at university.

"Surely blocking some porn is better than blocking no porn. Since when did an imperfect system stop a system being implemented?"

Putting an imperfect filtering system is the same as putting no filtering in place.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 28-May-13 19:27:48

sorry she read geography not history.

handsfullnow Tue 28-May-13 19:52:39

Lots of very intelligent people read History at University. I'm assuming she is clever enough to be properly informed of the subject.

I can't argue that you know more than these people at the very highest level but maybe you do?

If you do, please advise those in charge of regulating children's internet access or we will be forced to campaign for an Icelandic-style ban on all porn, which is maybe the answer.

BoneyBackJefferson Tue 28-May-13 20:29:02

How can I advise them of something that doesn't exist?

Others on the thread have posted why the various blocks won't work I am not going to repost them.

"I'm assuming she is clever enough to be properly informed of the subject."

Unfortunately many minsters are not properly informed on various subjects and as she is campaigning for something that doesn't exist she (IMO) falls into that catagory.

NetworkGuy Tue 28-May-13 20:30:14

Great piece, PlentyOfPubeGardens (the long post on Saturday).

scaevola - "But right now, there is nothing that would outdo what filters offer already, and the prospect of a magic 'nasties be gone button offers only a false sense of security."

(my bolding) - was one of the points put to MNHQ a year and a half ago (or some similar timescale) when MNHQ was initially in support of the proposal for ISP-based filtering and a default "opt in".

MNHQ did an important u-turn after considering the arguments from an essentially technical viewpoint was that most filtering "solutions" were flawed, that since 'content' of a web site can change from day to day, even hour to hour or minute to minute, what might be deemed "safe" in one instant could contain hard core porn, or violent hate speech, or whatever, the next time it was displayed.

I believe MNHQ also thought (as many in the threads discussing the topic did) that parents needed more education and it was for parents to lay down the moral guidelines on what may or may not be acceptable, and wider discussion, on 'adult' topics, would be needed at various ages...

NetworkGuy Tue 28-May-13 20:33:36

Whole matter came up again today in the "You and Yours" phone-in on Radio 4 at lunchtime. Good to hear one of the experts say filtering is a flawed method without parents discussing topic of what may be seen on the internet (and parents also getting technical help to be able to monitor and guide, instead of having DC "run rings around them" with the technology).

Filtering of just porn is surely wrong anyway - some "safety" software aims to block gambling, social media, dieting (think eating disorders), and plenty of other categories of site. It was standard on that 'Home Access' scheme to assist low income families with getting a computer for school age youngsters.

While I'm definitely against a 'Big Brother' state, and generally anti-censorship, I don't think I'd go so far as Tee in apparently accepting child porn - certainly that's something we should all wish to see eradicated and its users and dealers in a "place of safety" where they will never influence others, and preferably be kept in such a way as to be unable to even discuss their likes and dislikes.

NetworkGuy Tue 28-May-13 20:47:10

"If it won't work why is it being put forward as an option by the government?"

Simply because they are willing to ignore the advice from OFCOM, which itself looked into filtering and considered it a flawed method, some 15 months or more ago.

China has "an army of censors" yet there are still methods being cleverly used by a minority to get round the blocking mechanisms. In the case of UK Government, it is perhaps to attempt to "garner support" from the majority of voters (age 20 to 70, probably have children or grandchildren, and believe "something must be done").

No matter that it's a daft proposal, may not achieve very much, will cost all ISP customers (or at least customers of the bigger ISPs will decide to spend a small fortune on building a filtering system, to show willing, even if their technical staff know it is relatively easy to circumvent, consider the cash a waste of money...

I can see it now, different ISPs 'boasting' about how much it cost (their users will be paying for it, remember) for this great placebo filtering system, which on the face of it, will block trivial attempts at viewing certain hosts, but won't stop people for very long).

meditrina Tue 28-May-13 20:52:31

"an Icelandic-style ban on all porn, which is maybe the answer"

Iceland never brought forward proposals on how the "ban" would work. Yes, an election intervened - jolly convenient, as it allowed the PM to talk up something non-existent. If you look at what was actually said by the Icelandic government, it was clear that all they were doing was some wishful thinking and tasking some experts to look into it. No actual measures were ever set out.

NessaYork Tue 28-May-13 22:04:58

Chastemccain - Girls is a sitcom written, directed and starring Lena Dunham. As Caitlin Moran describes it, 'Girls shows what it's like when your head is full of porn and so is your lover's.' http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/magazine/article3677471.ece
I would NOT recommend showing it to children of any age or gender. I will watch it with my own daughters when they reach appropriate maturity (16?18? 25?) because it has some great life lessons and textbook examples of behaviour/choices by the kind of men I hope my own girls never fancy.
I think the best way to help children to avoid the omnipresent porn trap is to enlighten them on how to achieve great relationships (which can lead to great sex) instead of them thinking it's ok to settle for the sad loneliness of porn.

Snorbs Tue 28-May-13 23:04:46

Claire Perry MP has close links with SaferMedia, a charity whose clear aim is to rid the Internet - and indeed all media - of anything that they do not regard as child-friendly. And that includes bad language.

SaferMedia used to have their manifesto on their website which read, in part, that their aims were "...by working in accordance with Christian values to minimise the availability of potentially harmful media content displaying violence, pornography and explicit sex, bad language and anti-social behaviour and the portrayal of drugs..."

I can't find the manifesto on their website any more and I note that they are down-playing the Christian angle somewhat these days compared to a couple of years ago. Nevertheless consider which side of the nice-or-naughty list mumsnet would be on if SaferMedia got its way.

I can only imagine that Claire Perry and SaferMedia aren't particularly bothered by the inherent flaws of ISP-level porn blocking because for them that is just the start.

Thank you, Raven.

I work in schools too so understand the filtering system there- access to YouTube is blocked, though sometimes this appears not to work and I can view some videos.

However, I still feel it would be unacceptable to do nothing.
I think it's worth a try.

But it's not a choice between the opt-in proposal and doing nothing.

The other option is to use parental controls software, which works far better than the opt-in would, and to build a proper education and support programme for parents and DC, and to keep pushing for societal change to make porn use or production simply unacceptable.

I understand the appeal of the magic button but really you might as well just make one out of cardboard and put it next to your router for all the use it would be.

Snorbs Wed 29-May-13 11:03:14

However, I still feel it would be unacceptable to do nothing. I think it's worth a try.

In other words:
We must do something.
An opt-in porn filter is "something".
Therefore we must do it.

Nope, sorry. I feel that legislation should have a better grounding in fact than this.

I work in computer networking. I know how filtering works because I've run filtering systems. I know the benefits, the problems, the limitations and the costs.

An opt-in porn filter at your ISP will not protect your children from the non-sexual violent and graphic images and videos that litter the web. It won't protect them from all the the sexual ones either. It will also inevitably accidentally or deliberately block access to sites that you wouldn't necessarily regard as porn. Therefore to fully protect your child from the nasties of the Internet you'd need to set up a filtering system on the PC/tablet/phone that your child uses.

An opt-in filter at your ISP that blocks access to all non-child friendly sites (the end goal of Claire Perry and many of her supporters) will end up being turned off by the majority of parents as it would block their legitimate access to sites aimed at adults, eg mumsnet. So you'd need to set up a filtering system on the PC/tablet/phone that your child uses.

The bottom line is that the access a child should have to the Internet is different to the access an adult should have. I'm not talking about porn, I'm talking about sites aimed at grown-ups. I don't want my children having access to mumsnet, reddit or liveleak as they are not suitable for children. I do want access to those sites because mumsnet is great, reddit has some excellent topics aimed at particular interests of mine, and liveleak (amidst the dross) is an important channel for the dissemination of video from repressive regimes. I don't want my 11yo having access to Facebook but I do allow it for my 14yo.

A PC-level filter allows you to tailor who has access to what on a user by user basis. An ISP-level filter doesn't. To protect your child you need a filter that is tailored to what is appropriate for them and an ISP level filter cannot do that. It's that simple.

One final point - if you really do want an opt-in ISP level filtering system then you can get that today. TalkTalk offers it. Those here who are in favour of opt-in filtering, have you moved your broadband connection to TalkTalk? If not, why not?

libertarianj Wed 29-May-13 13:07:19

totally agree Snorbs, it would be interesting to see what percentage of TalkTalk customers have opted for this filtering? This would give a good indication of what the results would be nationwide, if they did plough ahead with the default filtering proposals.

Pubes to keep pushing for societal change to make porn use or production simply unacceptable.

Where i agree with your points about education, i think the chances of porn ever being made unacceptable are about as likely as getting these damn porn filters to work. Nil basically.

Why? Lots of things used to be acceptable that are no longer so. Societies do change, sometimes quite quickly. The rise in the acceptability of using porn has happened incredibly quickly - over the course of just a few decades.

I will admit this is a long term aim but still one worth working towards, because a) unless we change as a society we will always be playing technological catch-up and b) working towards a society that sees women as people and not commodities is a worthwhile aim in itself.

I think education is the first step in the process.

chocoluvva Wed 29-May-13 16:14:15

I couldn't agree more Plenty.

libertarianj Wed 29-May-13 22:50:38

One question plenty, when you say 'porn', are you meaning the really violent/ extreme stuff? or are you referring to all porn and erotica, including softcore sites like playboy, Femjoy, Met-Art etc? or maybe even scenes you would see in something like Game of Thrones for example?

NetworkGuy Thu 30-May-13 11:46:51

"Societies do change, sometimes quite quickly."

While I can understand your view, I think that you are forgetting the global nature of the internet with no strict boundaries about what someone can do/ see/ write/ hear... (just as katykuns forgot when she suggested a legislative approach to ban porn)

While there's a global "agreement" in the non-proliferation of nuclear arms, it only needs a few dissenters (Iran, India, Pakistan, N Korea) to make the suggestion a bit of a laugh...

Trying to get Australia, Canada, USA (Freedom of Speech) and others, some in Europe/EU to stop porn is a pretty big challenge, even if the UK did change attitude (and as soon as something is banned, it almost guarantees 'popularity'). I doubt it will ever "go away". Far better to be regulated (to be taxed) and prevent it getting ever more extreme.

NetworkGuy Thu 30-May-13 11:53:30

"if you really do want an opt-in ISP level filtering system then you can get that today. TalkTalk offers it. Those here who are in favour of opt-in filtering, have you moved your broadband connection to TalkTalk?"

Seems > big three will join TalkTalk < - (BT, VM and Sky) to add filtering...

NetworkGuy Thu 30-May-13 11:56:56

Loved the last part of the ISP review article... just like The Register when it has covered the topic, they are sceptical of the use of filters:

"Naturally children will have no trouble finding ways around any of this but nobody seems to care about that. In addition, solutions like this were already widely available, many are offered for free, although once again nobody seems to care about that either."

(ISPReview.co.uk - Saturday, May 25th, 2013 (8:40 am) by Mark Jackson)

NetworkGuy Thu 30-May-13 12:02:59

For anyone interested, here's a brief article about using "OpenDNS FamilyShield".

You'll see from the comments that with a bit of technical know-how, it can be sidestepped, but that's what we've said all along... it just adds a hurdle to jump and the less savvy/determined youngsters won't bother...

chocoluvva Thu 30-May-13 12:49:59

"a hurdle to jump and the less savvy/determined youngsters won't bother" is better than nothing.

NetworkGuy Thu 30-May-13 14:02:14

Agreed, but a reminder that many of these attempts at blocking might be just a hurdle.

It's why assuming an ISP-based "solution" is enough, is likely to lull some parents into thinking they don't need to educate themselves (about IT) and discuss such topics with their DC...

A "block" or "filter" is just too simplistic, and almost guaranteed to fail, yet MPs and others seem to believe it will be "fine" (or is that just "what parents want to hear").

BoneyBackJefferson Thu 30-May-13 18:06:50

chocoluvva
" "a hurdle to jump and the less savvy/determined youngsters won't bother" is better than nothing"

How long do you think it will be before the more savvy/determined tell the less savvy/determined?

chocoluvva Fri 31-May-13 08:50:57

I've no idea - but I assume that it would stop most of the incidences of accidentally seeing porn. It would also help to make extreme porn less socially acceptable.

meditrina Fri 31-May-13 09:03:39

The hurdle, currently available, which is "hardest to jump" is device based, especially a it can be adjusted to permit content appropriate for the age of the child (there's more than porn out there, and what you need to restrict from a 5 year old is very different from say a year6 preteen who watches 12 cert movies).

ISP filtering will be no harder to jump and will offer inferior protection anyhow.

NetworkGuy Fri 31-May-13 11:14:09

For anyone interested, here's a Thread from 2011 which covered whether filtering would be worthwhile, and included a fair number of comments from Snorbs which are worth reading...

Around the same time, there were threads in Geeky Stuff and the reason for me starting the thread I've linked to was because of a 'Campaign' page by MNHQ where (initially) they were supportive of a block, but later took note of posters' views and reversed that decision.

As someone on the thread said, it's not just porn that needs to be protected from access by young people, there's a lot more on the 'net.

NetworkGuy Fri 31-May-13 11:28:28

Ah, and here's another > thread from around that time... <

It's the thread in 'Campaigns' about "blocking porn at source" (well, by the ISP at least) - Niceguy2 suggested readers try a search for "how to bypass school filters"

or just Click Here for it. Do remember that some 'school' users will actually be (US) University students, who often refer to Uni as 'school' - odd, I know, when for most in the UK 'school' was for their pre-adult study...

BoneyBackJefferson Fri 31-May-13 19:28:02

chocoluvva

But google images already has a filter that you can turn on that does that

While I can understand your view, I think that you are forgetting the global nature of the internet with no strict boundaries about what someone can do/ see/ write/ hear...

Yes, I get your point, NetworkGuy. I will admit this is a very long term aim. In the short term, I'd be very happy if using porn became deeply unfashionable, even just in this country. At some point, maybe it would become so unfashionable that we'd legislate against it.

I'm not naive enough to think that would stop it altogether but it would no longer be just a thing you do, if you're a bloke - it would no longer be 'normal' and so our DC would no longer be growing up in a porn culture, with all its harms - I think this is something to aim for, even if porn is still out there and DC still need protecting from it with decent filters and good education. The job of educating kids would be a lot easier if we weren't constantly battling against societal attitudes that say porn is normal, all men use it etc.

libertarianj Sat 01-Jun-13 12:14:34

So Plenty you think porn is just a fashion thing or a fad? Nothing to do with sexual desire? Remember not everyone is in a sexual relationship. So what are they supposed to do? sit on their hands and wait patiently? And not everyone wants to use their imagination either, so may need some form of visual stimulation and that's just one scenario of many for the uses of porn.

I thought the idea of educating kids is to help them know how to deal with porn and how it compares to reality, NOT indoctrinate them into not liking porn. That would be like some kind of old wives tales, like porn will warp your mind, make you go blind etc and would be deeply repressive and could cause rebellion.

So Plenty you think porn is just a fashion thing or a fad? Nothing to do with sexual desire?

Well, it's both, clearly. Putting these questions together is like saying that certain foods can't be fashionable because food is to do with tasting yummy and satisfying hunger. It's just a bit daft.

It's currently so fashionable to use porn that there is a widespread belief that all men use it (not true, BTW), whereas a few decades ago, it was much less fashionable and most people would have said it was for men in dirty macs.

Nobody needs porn. It's perfectly possible to wank without it.

'Old wives tales' (horrible phrase btw) ... well, it may not make you go blind but there is a significant risk of erectile dysfunction. DC deserve to know this.

Education worked for me. I used to use porn until I educated myself and learnt there was a fair chance I was wanking to rape and abuse. It just kind of stopped working after that. If you can blithely carry on using porn once you know this then yes, your mind has been warped.

All those men I read about on the relationships board who 'can't stop' using porn and so watch their marriages go down the pan and/or put their DC at risk of exposure - I'd say their minds have been warped.

From the study linked to in the OP:

Access and exposure to pornography affect children and young people’s sexual beliefs and they learn from and may change their behaviour because of exposure and access to pornography. Access and exposure to pornography are also linked to children and young people’s engagement in “risky behaviour”. Considering sexualised and violent imagery more broadly, we can conclude that exposure to sexualised and violent imagery affects children and young people and that there are links between violent attitudes and violent media.

Doesn't sound like porn has a very healthy effect on young minds, does it?

ecclesvet Sat 01-Jun-13 18:11:26

"whereas a few decades ago, it was much less fashionable"

A few decades it was also much less immediately available. You'd have to go down to the cornershop and buy it from someone. Now you can do it from a computer without anyone knowing, and the barrier to entry has been lowered.

Now the Christian right-wing wants to close the stable door re-establish that barrier by forcing all the dirty old men to register to get their pornography back. But they don't understand that it isn't remotely possible.

libertarianj Sat 01-Jun-13 21:49:47

Well, it's both, clearly. Putting these questions together is like saying that certain foods can't be fashionable because food is to do with tasting yummy and satisfying hunger. It's just a bit daft.

No using food as an analogy for sex drive doesn't make sense. Porn doesn't follow any kind of fashion, it is pretty much anything goes. People like what they like. For example a heterosexual man would not suddenly turn gay if gay porn was considered the trendy thing.

Nobody needs porn. It's perfectly possible to wank without it.

but how do you know that? how can you speak for everybody? what about voyeurism for example

well, it may not make you go blind but there is a significant risk of erectile dysfunction.

Nah, there's no scientific consensus about that. www.nhs.uk/conditions/Erectile-dysfunction/Pages/Introduction.aspx, www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/impotence.htm. No mention of porn being the culprit there!

Education worked for me. I used to use porn until I educated myself and learnt there was a fair chance I was wanking to rape and abuse. It just kind of stopped working after that. If you can blithely carry on using porn once you know this then yes, your mind has been warped.

what kind of things were you watching? Did you report what you saw to the police if you believed it to be rape and abuse? I stick to reputable sites myself, and they tend to be softcore erotica like met-art. Maybe that should be included in the education about viewing ethical porn and reporting stuff that appears to be dodgy.

All those men I read about on the relationships board who 'can't stop' using porn and so watch their marriages go down the pan and/or put their DC at risk of exposure - I'd say their minds have been warped.

but it's very easy to make porn a scapegoat. 'It were the porn that made me do it' very poor excuse for bad behaviour or a failing relationship.

That study ain't worth the paper it's written on, it's just based on previous studies, which are mostly junk science. I could just post up something like this instead:

health.usnews.com/health-news/news/articles/2013/04/25/porn-use-has-small-effect-on-sexual-behavior-study-finds

'The study found that only between 0.3 percent and 4 percent of the sexual behaviors in question could be attributed to pornography use.

chocoluvva Sat 01-Jun-13 23:09:10

Nobody needs porn. They just don't.

Use your imagination!

here's a documentary about a woman trying to break into mainstream porn It's in several parts and is very distressing viewing. This is mainstream stuff, remember. There'll be lots out there that's easily accessible and much worse.

here's a TED film which explains how porn use leads to ED

I'm not wasting any more time debating with you libertarian as it's obvious your agenda is to justify your entitlement to wank over porn when actually you have no clue what the circumstances are that have led to those women being there on your screen or how truly 'consenting' they are.

libertarianj Sun 02-Jun-13 12:31:54

That documentary features Max Hardcore, that's not mainstream stuff at all, that's extreme of the extreme! and he's served time too and rightly so, vile man:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Hardcore

HongkongDreamer Wed 24-Jul-13 17:23:18

Images promoting things like this should also be blocked off the internet, like topless models etc. Its a joke that its still allowed.

ChunkyPickle Wed 24-Jul-13 17:44:09

It's a joke that they're proposing this ridiculous 'Great Firewall of the UK' which will do very little to stop kids accessing porn, yet, are quite happy to have page three and lads mags sat on shelves in every supermarket and newsagent for kids to buy.

One thing they could actually do to stop the objectification of women, yet won't and one thing that they can't realistically do without blocking goodness knows what else (and not blocking everything they need to). Which do they pick.....

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