The first legislative attempt to introduce an opt-in system for accessing adult internet content, has been introduced to the House of
Lords. Of course private members bills have little chance of becoming law unless they capture a large consensus of support including the government.
The Online Safety Private Members Bill was introduced by Baroness Elspeth Howe, who wants to require ISPs and mobile phone companies to block adult content, unless an adult user specifically asks for it.
And the bill has predictably won the backing of the Christian campaign group CARE, who claim it is important that the government look at providing a safe online environment for web savvy children.
The Private Members Bill is calling for ISPs and mobile phone operators to provide a service that allows adult customers to make decisions about what sort of content they want blocking on their home broadband or their children's mobile phones.
Howe's Bill is based on MP Claire Perry's campaign. The government said at the time that they are in favour of the proposals put forward, but would like the industry to self-regulate and bring about these changes without amending primary legislation.
Last year the industry made the pledge to bring forward self-regulatory measures, but did not go as far as endorsing the requirement to have an opt-in to access pornography through a filter at network level.
Historically, most internet content has escaped regulation. A laudable industry-wide effort in the UK resulted in the Clean Feed system that blocks illegal child abuse imagery, but there has always been a reluctance to block, or limit access to, other
forms of adult material due to the international nature of internet content.
The head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is whingeing that parents ignore age restrictions and allow their children to play violent computer games.
The Association of Teachers and Lecturers will raise their concerns about children spending hours a day playing inappropriate computer games at debate during their annual conference in Manchester next week.
ATL head Dr Mary Bousted said some of these games were very violent and could have an effect on tender young minds of children and young people . And she was sure her conference would hear how parents are ignoring age restrictions of
computer games. She told reporters:
Of course, they're extremely difficult to enforce, just like films, like TV.
It's about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can't do it alone.
If they're up to 12 or one o'clock playing computer games, and coming to school exhausted, not interacting with other children, that's not good preparation for school, and not good preparation for life.
The fact that children spend hours locked in their rooms playing computer games, which means they're not interacting, they're not playing and not taking exercise.
The motion being debated calls for the union's executive to commission research which will allow it to lobby government for the introduction of more stringent legislation on computer games.
The head of ChildLine has blamed social networking sites such as Facebook for fuelling what the
charity claims is a huge rise in the number of children who deliberately harm themselves.
Sue Minto said the internet and mobile phones meant young people were being exposed to cyber-bullying 24 hours a day.
Launching a self-harm awareness campaign which is being supported by X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos, Minto claimed such pressure could cause children to begin cutting themselves or engage in risky behaviour such as drinking or using drugs.
Research to be released later this week suggests the number of children and young people who deliberately hurt themselves on a regular basis has risen significantly over the past ten years.
Milli Hill of Somerset is a parenting columnist for Somerset Life Magazine and blogger for The Mule.
She has created on online petition entitled Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO: Refuse to carry
books which advocate the physical abuse of children.
The petition urges Amazon (both .com and .co.uk) to stop allowing books that purportedly advocate, endorse, and advise parenting techniques that involve the physical abuse of children as a disciplinary technique. Examples of some titles targeted
by the petition include To Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, and Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. The petition continues:
Such books, and others like them, promote behaviour which is abusive of children. All of the above books advocate the use of a rod and other implements on children under one.
Such behaviour is abusive to children, and it is also 'offensive', which is contrary to Amazon's Content Guidelines.
It may well also be illegal, as it seems to go far beyond the 'reasonable chastisement' currently sanctioned by law in the UK, (where this petition originated) and in many US States. Not only is beating on a regular basis with a rod likely to
leave a mark, which is illegal in the UK, it is also likely to amount to inhuman or degrading treatment, which is a breach of human rights.
We wish Amazon to urgently review their decision to stock any book or other product which advises the physical abuse of children.
The petition currently stands at 10,425. Apparently this includes many notable names in the field of children's rights, psychology, child development, and religious child maltreatment.
Perhaps a little strange that the group does not petition against the religions that prove such a fertile breeding ground for bad attitudes to children.
A film trailer by the makers of Wallace and Gromit has been criticised for poking fun at people with leprosy.
The scene shows the arrival of the Pirate Captain on board a captive ship, demanding gold. Afraid we don't have any gold old man, this is a leper-boat, explains a crew member. See, he adds as his arm falls off.
Essex-based Lepra Health in Action has expressed disbelief at the scene in Aardman Animation's The Pirates! Adventures with Scientists.
Lepra's president Sir Christian Bonington said:
It might make you laugh but leprosy stigma not only hurts, it is still forcing people to live a life on the fringes of society.
Not only is the dropping off of body parts a total misnomer we have to ask ourselves, as we watch it uncomfortably, is it acceptable for us to be laughing at the millions of people who are disabled by leprosy? '
A spokesman for Bristol-based Aardman said it took criticism like this seriously and was reviewing the matter.
The creator of Wallace & Gromit, Aardman Animations, has bowed to international pressure after being accused of poking fun at leprosy sufferers in its latest blockbuster film.
Aardman have announced that the offending leper scene in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists , set for release in March, will be changed out of respect and sensitivity after being convinced that the scene could
increase stigma and discrimination for millions of leprosy sufferers.
The scene showed the main pirate character landing on a so called leper ship looking for gold, but is then clearly aghast when the leper's arm falls off. It has already been seen on the film's
by hundreds of thousands of people on You Tube and in cinemas worldwide, but Aardman will now remove all offensive references to leprosy.
Chief executive of LEPRA, Sarah Nancollas, said:
We are genuinely delighted that Aardman and Sony Pictures have made this decision, though obviously we will have to wait to see the final film to see it was dealt with.
Hopefully this publicity will help to reduce the damage that has already been done with the use of this trailer across the world.
A poster advertising lingerie, seen on the side of buses in early November 2011, stated Introducing Naked Glamour
Calvin Klein Underwear and featured five images of a model wearing a bra and briefs.
The complainant, an Orthodox Cherdi Jew, objected that:
the ad was offensive to the large Orthodox Jewish population of Stamford Hill, whose religious beliefs required them not to see images of women wearing only underwear;
it was irresponsible to display the ad in untargeted media in public as it would be seen by children.
Calvin Klein said they did not believe that the ad was offensive or socially irresponsible. They said the ad merely featured the product, their underwear range, being worn by a model. They believed it was reasonable to feature models wearing
underwear when advertising these products, and that the ad was neither sexually suggestive nor overtly sexual. They also said their media vendor had not believed that the ad fell into the risky category, and had been happy for the ad
campaign to proceed.
ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA noted that there was no explicit nudity in the images, and that the ad was for an underwear range. We considered that the nature of the product meant that viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive, and
noted that the poses of the model were natural. We considered that the ad might be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature, as the underwear featured in the largest image appeared sheer in nature, and the product name Naked Glamour was
featured. However, although we recognised that some people with strongly held religious views may find the ad distasteful, we did not consider that the ad was likely to cause widespread offence or serious offence to those with religious views.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.
2. Not upheld
We noted the complainant's concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that the ad may be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature, as the underwear featured in the largest image appeared sheer in
nature, and the product name Naked Glamour was featured. However, we did not consider that the images were overtly sexual, and considered that the ad was acceptable for use in outdoor media likely to be seen by children. We therefore
concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible.
On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.