Protect our children from web abuse - MP

PUBLISHED: 01:01 21 February 2008 | UPDATED: 08:50 10 June 2010

EAST Devon MP Hugo Swire has called on the Government to do more to protect children from internet content. In a statement to the Journal, Mr Swire said that last year 32 per cent of children claimed to have received unwanted, nasty or sexual comments whi

EAST Devon MP Hugo Swire has called on the Government to do more to protect children from internet content.In a statement to the Journal, Mr Swire said that last year 32 per cent of children claimed to have received unwanted, nasty or sexual comments while using the internet, and said "internet playgrounds should be supervised in the same way as physical parks used to be supervised".Mr Swire went on to criticise the Government's "lack of ownership" of internet content regulation, saying a major problem was the fact that eight different government departments have an interest in internet content: DCMS, Home Office, Justice, Health, Foreign Office, Cabinet Office, Children, Schools and Families and Business and Regulatory Reform.Mr Swire said: "As a father with two children who are beginning to explore the online world, I want them to surf safely. "I want to draw attention to areas of current weakness and make a few recommendations for the Government and industry. "Given the recent suicides in Bridgend - today we learnt of the 14th victim - it is crucial we make speedy progress."I do not believe we can remove all risk to children, but I think we can make the UK a safer place online in what seems to be an increasingly dangerous world for our children."I will recommend an Internet Standards Authority is set up to fight illegal and harmful content, promote a safer environment and raise awareness. It would set the parameters for Internet Service Providers to filter internet content for children, making it safe for them to surf. "I believe internet adverts should carry responsibility messages, such as those on alcohol advertising, and all internet-ready platforms carry pre-installed internet filters."Mr Swire said he has a long standing interest in media issues but this debate was "suggested by a campaigner on this issue and constituent Richard Yarlott, of Colyton, in a recent surgery".Mr Swire recommended the Government appoint an Internet Standards Authority which he said would "be more responsive to new internet trends and lighter on its feet than Government legislation".

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