Think about what you want a porn filter to achieve, I know it seems obvious at first, but properly think about it.

You want to protect children?

Noble cause, as a mother I applaud you. Do you honestly think that an ISP based porn filter will work? Let’s break it down and work it out.

For a start, let’s separate children into three categories, those who have parents who care, those who don’t and those who care but are technically illiterate. Obviously the ones who have parents who don’t care will need a little more or our help. So surely an ISP based porn filter will help? Hmm…

So working on the assumption that we are trying to help them, and their parents are lackadaisical at best (neglectful at worst). So the ISP’s block porn. Sorted right?

Well.. no.. see my previous post on the technical issues with an ISP based porn filter. There’s only one method that would absolutely 100% block all porn, and that’s white list, let’s hope that isn’t an option our darling government want.

So you still have access to porn anyway. And that’s assuming these lackadaisical/neglectful parents haven’t opted out anyway, in which case we haven’t achieved a thing have we?

On to the technically illiterates. Ok, this group I have the most sympathy for, and suspect make up the bulk of supporters for this. I get why you all support it, I really do. It must be terrifying to feel so helpless, and this must seem like a godsend! But it’s not, with the best will in the world, it’s just not.

Someone used this analogy on another site, think it’s useful.

Think of it like this. Imagine the internet is a cliff, and we are having a picnic at the top of the cliff. It’s a mostly beautiful view, but if you let your guard down, you could fall off. You wouldn’t let your child play near the edge. Installing the opt in system is like putting a strong looking but flimsy fence in place. You could be fooled in to thinking it was safe but left to their own devices your child, could easily fall through. We can’t put a brick wall there otherwise it spoils the natural beauty of the view (the educational benefits of the internet).

This porn filter won’t block all porn. It also wont block all the other harmful websites on the web (pro-ana, extreme gore and violence, self harm etc). You will still need to supervise your children, you will still need computer based filters. Without these your children are no safer than they were before the ISP porn filter.

If you are reading this then are obviously one of those who wants to be informed, you have the option to add filters. What about those parents who are expecting the porn filter to make the internet safe? They’ve been lulled into a false sense of security. They wont install filters and/or be less likely to supervise, secure in the knowledge that the government have child proofed the internet.

Here’s where there is another solution, a better one. Education. And if the government want to be more pro-active they could always provide free govt-endorsed software that everyone can download and install on their PC, software that is customisable to suit every family. You’d be able to make sure different users had different access to different information. You teenagers would be able to see different stuff to your 5 year olds. If the govt put their energy into raising awareness, education and easy access to simple filters we’d achieve a hell of a lot more.

Let’s actually try and keep children safe instead of paying lip service.