New curbs on internet sleaze: Help for parents to protect children from unsuitable content

  • Customers will have to choose whether they want to view porn
  • Providers BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin will lead crackdown
  • Billboards and aggressive advertising campaigns also targeted
  • Website launched where parents can report anything inappropriate
A tough new crackdown to help parents protect their children from internet porn will be unveiled today by David Cameron.
Four of Britain’s biggest internet service providers will force customers to specify if they want to view explicit sites.
Subscribers to BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin who do not opt in will have no access to  internet porn.
Wrecking childhood: Parents will have to specify whether they want explicit sites to be viewable on family computers under new measures to be announced today
Wrecking childhood: Parents will have to specify whether they want explicit sites to be viewable on family computers under new measures to be announced today
The breakthrough is expected to be announced by the Prime Minister as the centrepiece of a crackdown on the sexualisation of childhood.
Other moves will include restrictions on billboards plastered with images of scantily-clad models and aggressive advertising campaigns.
There will also be a new website called Parentport on which parents can complain about any TV programme, advertisement, product or service they feel is inappropriate for children.
Downing Street has introduced the crackdown in response to a report by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union charity, which warned that childhood was being wrecked by web pornography, sexual TV and advertising content and suggestive clothes for youngsters.
Mr Bailey told the Government that radical steps were needed to stem the flow. Mr  Cameron wants the Parentport website to help keep any infringements in check. Ed Richards, chief executive of Ofcom, said: ‘Seven UK media regulators have come together to develop a single website with a single aim – to help protect children from inappropriate material.
Inappropriate: Overly-sexual clothes such as these padded bikinis for seven-year-olds  from Primark will also be covered by the new rules

Targeting young girls: T-shirts such as these with the message 'Future footballers wife' are likely to be reported on the Government's new complaints website
‘Each regulator shares this common purpose and is committed to helping parents make their views and concerns known.
‘We have already tested the website with parents and the feedback has been positive.
‘We will keep listening to parents and intend to develop the site in light of further feedback.’
The one-stop-shop site will be run by regulators including the ASA, the Authority for Television On Demand, the BBC Trust, the British Board of Film Classification, Ofcom, the Press Complaints Commission, the Video Standards Council and Pan-European Game Information.
The site – – will direct complaints to the regulator that deals with the area of concern.
There is growing concern about the impact on Britain’s children of adult images on the internet.
On average, children start going online at the age of eight.
Sexual: Adverts such as the famous Hello Boys Wonderbra poster, pictured, featuring Eva Herzigova will be targeted in the crackdown
Research suggests up to a third of under-tens have seen pornography on the web, while four in five teenagers aged 14 to 16 admit accessing explicit photographs and footage regularly on their home computers.
Half of children say they use the internet alone in their bedroom, making it difficult for parents to monitor their activity.
Children as young as 11 are taking pornographic images of themselves and swapping them with friends on the web or through text messages, according to a survey this year. Internet safety expert Ken Corish revealed that 40 per cent of youngsters aged 11 to 14 have used their mobile phone or computer to send pictures of themselves, or have received naked or topless images of friends.
David Cameron
Reg Bailey of the Mother's Union
Restrictions: David Cameron will announce the crackdown today in response to a report by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union charity, right
Experts blamed the shocking trend on the volume of internet pornography seen by boys, which leads them to expect girls to be promiscuous and flaunt their bodies.
Four in ten of the 11,000 children surveyed thought it was ‘appropriate’ to  pictures of topless girls in school.
Today’s announcement by Mr Cameron follows several attempts to limit the adult content available to children on the web. Earlier this year, Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt suggested that unless ISPs signed up for some form of parental controls he would introduce legislation forcing them to.
When Tory MP Claire Perry began a campaign to protect children online, she was warned by experts that it would not be practical to block sexual content retrospectively. However, the campaign being introduced by the Prime Minister differs in that content will be blocked when a customer pays for a new internet package from a service provider.
In June, David Cameron told TV watchdogs they had until this month to launch a crackdown on sex and violence screened on television before the 9pm watershed.
The move followed public uproar about the ‘soft porn’ dance routines of singers Rihanna and Christina Aguilera in the X Factor final last year. Ofcom sparked anger by refusing to condemn the programme.
The Prime Minister is holding a summit at No10 today with 30 media and retail executives, including broadcasters, magazine editors, trade bodies and advertisers.
In another move, a ban will be implemented on children of up to 15 being employed as ‘brand ambassadors’ or in peer-to-peer marketing campaigns.