A recent poll showed that 69% of respondents who expressed an opinion would choose to use a voluntary filter to block pornographic content were such a filter available from their internet service provider.
Carried out by YouGov Plc and funded by TalkTalk on behalf of Safermedia, Claire Perry MP and others, the poll clearly shows that there is a demand for such filters to be made available. The figures are weighted and are representative of all GB adults aged 18.
83% of the people said they thought that seeing pornographic content on the internet was either very, or fairly, damaging to children. 73% thought that the easy availability of extreme pornography on the internet is damaging to society. This indicates that concern about the issue spreads far beyond the concern for children alone.
Probably not surprisingly, women are more likely to use an ISP-level filter than men (77% versus 37%). However, the number of men in favour increases dramatically with age, being lowest in the 18-24 year old group.
This means that nearly 80% of all households in the UK contain at least one member who would be in favour of using ISP-level filters.
Overall, the survey showed that there is concern about the accessibility of pornography on the internet and the impact it has on society. The uptake of ISP-level filters, were they available, would also be quite high.
The benefits to households of these filters are numerous. They would protect the entire household in one go, avoiding the need to manage each individual computer. They would also provide protection for other web-enabled devices (such as TVs and games consoles) which can not currently be monitored by other filters currently available. These filters would also reduce the number of malware attacks from pornographic websites, and increase online security.
The question, then, is whether the ISP industry will respond favourably to these findings or continue to bury it’s collective head in the sand. At least one ISP, TalkTalk, seems to be taking this seriously. They would currently appear to be the most Family Friendly and Family Safe major ISP on the market today.
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All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2,051 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 2nd – 3rd February 2011. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).
Article © Peter Watts 2011