Nicolas Suzor, Chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA), has responded to Microsoft’s report into child safety online, believing the report is evidence that parents do not believe filtering is the best way to protect their children.
The report highlighted how 65 percent of parents were doing nothing to protect their children online, but many new of available internet filters and chose not to use them. For details of the research results, see our previous story here.
When asked to comment, Mr Suzor had the following to say:
1. The statistic that 60% of parents know about parental filters but half choose not to use them shows that parents do not think that filtering is the best way to protect their children. This is in line with the research done about uptake of the previous government’s voluntary filter.
2. If we are serious about helping parents to protect kids, we need to stop showboating. A mandatory RC filter will not protect kids at all. It won’t protect kids from exposure to unsuitable material, and it won’t protect the kids who are being exploited around the world.
3. Senator Conroy has said that filtering is not a ‘silver bullet’, but he hasn’t been straight with the Australian public – he hasn’t admitted that the filter will provide almost no tangible benefit in protecting children from the threats they face online: (a) it won’t touch the broad range of material that individual parents may decide is unsuitable for their children; and (b) it does nothing to address the much greater risk of contact with other people online.
4. If anything, this research shows that parents could use more helpful educational resources to help them understand real risks online, how to talk to their kids and supervise their internet usage, and how to utilise the range of technological measures that are readily available – such as client side filtering – to help them.