Thank you for contacting me about protecting children from online pornography.
I would like to reassure you that my commitment to protecting children online is unwavering. While going online can be hugely beneficial for children, who use the internet for connecting with peers, accessing educational resources and for entertainment, I completely agree that it is vital that children are protected from accessing inappropriate, harmful content, including online pornography.
While I appreciate your frustration with the decision about the Digital Economy Act, I must point out that the forthcoming Online Safety Bill will be able to go much further to protect children as it will be able to protect children from a broader range of harmful content and activity, across a wider range of sites. For example the Digital Economy Act did not extend to any social media channels, which is where most young children are most likely to stumble across unsuitable and distressing content.
The Online Safety Bill is still only at draft stage, the Joint Committee on the draft Bill concluded before Christmas and made a number of recommendations to tighten up the legislation and bring commercial pornography sites within scope. I am encouraged that the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Nadine Dorries has indicated that the Government is keen to go further in this space before the final Bill is brought forward to Parliament later this year.
I recently took part in a debate in the House of Commons on the Online Safety Bill and raised this very issue.