Children and Pornography

Today’s Daily Mail reports that the Government may be back-tracking, on civil liberties grounds, on its commitments to introduce tough measures to protect children from access to online pornography, which would entail explicit requirements to opt into adult content.

However, the UK’s churchgoing Christians are resolute in their determination that something needs to be done to curtail access to such content, according to a ComRes CPanel poll for Premier Christian Media Trust released on 18 April 2012.

Online interviews were undertaken with 519 Christians between 8 and 30 March 2012. Results – disaggregated by age, gender, region, denomination, churchmanship and parenthood – are available at:

Asked whose responsibility it is to ensure children are prevented from accessing pornography on the internet, 99% of Christians replied parents, 84% internet service providers (ISPs), 72% mobile phone network providers, 65% regulatory bodies, 60% Government, and 35% children themselves.

88% of Christians favoured a system whereby pornographic content would be automatically blocked by ISPs, requiring customers aged 18 and over to opt into adult services. Only 8% favoured an opt out arrangement.

In the face of the strong reservations expressed by ISPs about blocking pornography, 75% of Christians wanted the Government to force providers to block such content, with 13% opposed and 12% undecided.

Somewhat fewer, 57% of Christians, said that they would be willing to pay more for their internet subscription to fund the cost of the filtering technology needed for an opt in scheme. 28% were unwilling to pay extra, and 15% could not make up their minds.

The traditional 9 pm watershed on television was widely regarded as being ineffective, following the introduction of replay services such as iPlayer, ITV Player and 4OD. 79% were of this opinion, compared with just 8% who saw the watershed as still effective.

Questioned about the age from which someone should be allowed to watch pornography, bearing in mind that 16 is the age of consent, 11% replied from the age of 16, 27% from the age of 18, and 9% from the age of 21. But 42% (and 52% of women) wanted pornography banned altogether.

Looking at the root causes of the problem, four-fifths of respondents thought that the Churches should be doing more to support parents in educating their children about sex. 8% disagreed and 12% were uncertain.

Two unrelated topics were also covered in the poll. Most (78%) felt that the obligation to teach children to read rested with schools and parents equally. The responsibility to teach them about Christianity was seen to fall on parents (94%), Churches (93%) and schools (60%).


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