Government plans 'white list' of charities exempt from adult-content filters

Plan must ensure that young people are not prevented from receiving advice given by charities, says Emma Thomas, chief executive of YouthNet

Emma Thomas
Emma Thomas

The government will introduce a "white list" of websites – including those run by advice charities – that include sensitive internet search terms but would not be blocked by its proposed adult-content filters, according to the online young people’s charity YouthNet.

Speaking at the NSPCC headquarters in London yesterday, David Cameron, the Prime Minister, announced government plans to set up "family friendly filters" that would block access to adult content unless people choose to receive it.

But he said that the government was aware that the filters should not prevent access to organisations such as charities that provide online support.

"I know there are lots of charities and other organisations that provide vital online advice and support that many young people depend on," he said. "And we need to make sure that the filters do not – even unintentionally – restrict this helpful and often educational content.

"So I will be asking the UK Council for Child Internet Safety to set up a working group to ensure that this doesn’t happen as well as talking to parents about how effective they think the filter products are."

Emma Thomas, chief executive of YouthNet, said it had received early reassurances from the government that it would be invited to work with the UKCCIS on the issue.

"We’d really like to work with the UKCCIS to make sure this works for young people," she said. "We want to make sure we’re not limiting access for young people.

"We need to make sure that the practical management of "white lists" is workable for all charities, so they are up to date, reflect the pace of new services being set up and do not create barriers to the charities adopting the value of online service delivery."

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