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UK Pornographers Respond to Restrictive Filters with a New Website

Monica Wells | 19.06.2014 09:48

UK's adult industry members have recently raised some concerns about the performance of the Internet filters introduced by the Government.

UK's adult industry members have recently raised some concerns about the performance of the Internet filters introduced by the Government. Those filters can sometimes be inefficient in blocking adult content, argue adult industry professionals, who are themselves big fans of filtering the web for the purposes of parental restriction. They point out, however, that while legitimate content might end up blocked by mistake, portions of adult content might still be left unfiltered.

Chris Ratcliff, the managing director of Portland TV, a major adult content channel and broadcaster, said “There are better filters available than those offered by the ISPs which are also less prone to overblocking.” (Source:

Led by Portland TV, the group has launched their own website,, which serves as a source of information for parents interested in using tools for blocking and filtering online content. The website covers tools that work over a wide range of devices – from smartphones and tablets to PCs and game consoles.

The group points out: “There is no magic button that will protect your children from viewing pornographic or explicit material online. Even if a product did exist, kids use a variety of devices to surf the net and not all of these offers the same level of protection”.

The website is designed to meet the need of parents, who are often not as tech-savvy as their children, by granting them an understanding of the products and services, helping to make the most informed decisions about protecting their children from unsuitable materials. The site features simple, easy-to-follow instructions on how to set up parental controls on PC, Mac, tablet, smart phone, game console or smart TV. They promise that “each product will be road-tested by a real person who will fill you in on the pros and cons.”

As of today, three major ISPs (BT, Sky and TalkTalk) launched their parental filters, which have subsequently been proven to fail – the filters were blocking educational sites and leaving some adult content unfiltered. James Vincent from The Independent reports the following: “TalkTalk’s failed to identify 7 per cent of websites with adult content, but blocked content including the award-winning sex education site and Edinburgh’s Women’s Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre.”

“Sky’s filter blocked 99 per cent of the 68 adult sites tested, but also blocked six sites offering advice to individuals addicted to pornography. Sites blocked by BT’s filter included those dedicated to tackling domestic abuse (Reducing The Risk and the Domestic Abuse Helpline) and others that offered sex education advice.” (Source:

The government, on the other hand, is currently busy constructing the so-called “white list” of approved websites to counter overblocking. The chair of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, David Miles, said that although “the amount of inadvertent blocking is low […] if you are a charity and you deal with teenagers in distress that 1 or 10 matters to you."

Just as the group points out on their won website, there is no “silver bullet” for protecting children and young teenagers from viewing adult materials, but establishing device-specific targeted filters and educating parents is the best way to deal with the problem. The website gives several practical pointers to parents on both protecting their kids from unwanted adult materials, as well as on communicating to them well why certain things are inappropriate for their age:

“Young kids may stumble across unsuitable images by tapping buttons randomly. Older kids may hunt them out. Either way, if you want to do your best to shield your child from adult images and videos, you must think about how best to protect them.”
“If you install parental controls while your children are young, they will get used to the idea of restricted access and you will get used to putting these measures in place. With older children and teenagers, it is an idea to talk about what you are doing and why. Remember always make sure the controls are age-appropriate.”

“Not all products will be able to block all inappropriate material. Your kids might see something they shouldn't while using someone else's computer or phone so it's important you talk about what they may come across online. Also be aware that there are no parental controls on social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter.”

Just as it proves useful in other ares, education might be the key to successful campaigns against kids viewing adult content.

Monica Wells
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