We all know you’ve looked at it at one point in your life (some more than others). That’s right, it’s Porn, whether it was just a laugh with your friends, or a lonely Saturday night when the girlfriends away, we’ve all looked.
Thanks to our PM Mr Cameron, searching Google for that quick “fix” might not be so easy anymore. A couple of weeks ago David Cameron announced that the majority of UK households would have pornography blocked by their Internet provider. WOAH! Calm down, you will still be able to watch it, you’ll just need to contact your Internet service provider and have that awkward conversation where you explain your “son” is going through adolescence and needs some “education”. Good luck to all you teenagers that will need to confront your parents and ask to have porn turned back on, that’s something I wouldn’t want to do!
By the end of the year family-friendly filters will be automatically selected for all new customers. For existing users, your provider will contact you asking if you would like the filter activated or not. People who do not reply to their Internet provider will have the filter switched on, so make sure you check your emails! The UKs 4 largest ISPs have agreed to use the filters, likely to happen in 2014 and reach 95% of households.
Filtering systems will vary by ISP. Some will use installed software while others will use a Network level blocking system or time-based system. So when you’ve just come home from School, the parents are still at work and you need to relax, I’m afraid you’re out of luck.
What’s the point of these filters? The government says the filters are needed to ensure children are spared the “corroding” influence of pornography. They hope the filters will stop children mistakably seeing images or visiting websites parents don’t want them to see. It’s not clear what effect this is going to have on children. It could simply mean they just don’t see as much porn or that they try and find it elsewhere.
Personally, I think these filters will be too easily disabled. Although some ISPs will require you to telephone them, most will have a setting in their account page or software where you can turn them off. Now I don’t know about you, but the majority of teens nowadays are very tech savvy and I’m sure will be able to find out how to turn the filters on and off without their parents knowing. I know when I was a teenager my parents constantly asked me how to do things on the computer. Unless the filters are extremely clever, I think it will be too easy for people to get around them when searching online and with the way the Internet and websites are moving forward, I’m sure websites could be built and search engine optimised in a way that they won’t get blocked.
Although the filters may block the odd child from seeing porn, I think removing content from the Internet or making it more obvious instead of trying to block it could do more. So you won’t come across porn “accidentally” you would have to physically search “porn”.