Google Exec Says Parents Should Protect Kids From Online Porn

Apr 24, 2012 5:00 PM PST

LONDON — Speaking at a conference of child welfare experts, A U.K. Google public policy analyst said it’s up to parents to keep their kids away from porn on the Internet.

In response to a number of British members of parliament who are calling for widespread Internet filtering and an “opt-in” system for viewing adult material, Naomi Gummer told The Telegraph that it’s a “myth” that laws can prevent children from viewing explicit material, because technology’s simply moving too fast and legislation would become a “blunt instrument.”

Gummer also said that most parents are "complicit" in allowing their children to access social networking sites and only a few had been "upset" by what they had seen online.

The executive pointed to data illustrating that the extent of sexual content online has been exaggerated.

"Twenty-five percent of kids have seen sexual images, but only 14 percent saw them online. Of that, 4 percent say they were upset by the images, 2 percent of those images are hard-core and violent and the rest is nudity in the same way as perhaps seen in the offline world," she said.

But a CNET report took issue with Gummer’s statement and questioned her numbers. “If 4 percent say they were upset by the images, does that mean 4 percent were upset by the images? Of course not. How do children know what really upsets them? And who defines ‘sexual images’ anyway?,” the CNET article asked.

CNET maintained that Google was trying to say that it's not that there's too much online porn, but rather parents aren't controlling kids' access.

The point Gummer was really trying to make, according to CNET, is that porn is prevalent on the Internet and it’s up to parents to keep their kids away from the bad stuff.

CNET noted that Google likes the idea of a “free-flowing” Internet despite what’s on it because it’s good for their business.

“Some might find it skewed that so much emotion, angst, and attempted policy-making time is spent on protecting children from sexual images, when relatively little seems to be spent on protecting kids from violent images.

“It's surely far harder for parents to protect their kids from violent images than from sexual ones. There just seem to be so many more of them,” CNET said.

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