Press Statement – 23 July 2013
“As the agencies of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales concerned with the education and welfare of children, we welcome yesterday’s announcements on increased online protection for children.
“We welcome the proposals to filters potentially harmful content unless an adult ‘opts-in’ following age verification and the steps further taken to make public Wi-Fi’s safer for children; namely the participation of the six companies which provide 90% of public Wi-Fi’s to introduce family friendly filters and adopt a ‘Family Friendly Wi-Fi’ symbol.
“We feel these are important steps in assisting parents to keep their children safe online, which should be complimented with education on online safety.
“At this point it is important to recognise that inappropriate online content is not solely limited to pornography. Websites containing extreme violence or promoting self-harm, suicide and eating disorders also present great risk to children. Governmental figures show that 13,231 childhood admissions to hospital last year with the primary diagnoses of deliberate self- harm and 1,141 childhood admission to hospital with the primary diagnosis of an eating disorder.
“We hope these safeguards will work to ensure that children are protected from the dangers posed to their development, mental health, relationships and self-esteem from harmful and explicit online material.
“The Catholic Education Service and CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) have been campaigning for greater online safety for children and we welcome these steps from the Government to increase protections for children.”
The Catholic Education Service (CES) is an agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW).
CSAN (Caritas Social Action Network) is the social action arm of the Church in England and Wales. CSAN comprises 41 member charities who work with prisoners, homeless people, refugees, travellers, victims of trafficking and domestic abuse as well as with children living in poverty.