"A study out of the University of New Hampshire shows at least 42 percent of children between the ages of 10 and 17 have accidentally come across some pornographic images while surfing the Internet over the past year.
Of those, a full 66 percent admit they didn't go looking for the graphic graphics and would have preferred not to see them at all."
That's less than 30% of children who claim to have seen pornographic images without wanting to. (And lets not forget, people lie in surveys and studies, especially if they think they'll get in trouble for saying they went looking for porn!) It is in response to this under-30% of children aged 10-17 that the Australian government will soon be trialling mandatory internet filtering (aka censorship) which will effect all net-enabled citizens. As of 2006, 66% of Australian dwellings had access to the internet. I'm sure it's more than that now. So more than 66% of Australian households will suffer significantly slower internet speeds, and will have safe, legal sites blocked to them by the currently existing inefficient filtering software.
Now, don't get me wrong. A child stumbling across porn accidentally is, I'm sure, a traumatic and disturbing experience for them. It is something to be avoided if possible. However, I do not see it as the job of the government to do that - it is the job of a parent or guardian to educate their children, and wherever possible to oversee and supervise their internet use. It's actually quite difficult to find porn accidentally online. The main way is by doing something else illegal, such as downloading cracks and key generators for programs. Frankly, if a kid is mature enough to be doing that, I would imagine they're also mature enough to either ignore, or cope with, the very softcore porn they're confronted with at the time.
In the interests of research, Aidan and I just typed "porn" into Google. With their "Moderate SafeSearch" on, the results were disappointing - there was nothing, I repeat, absolutely nothing, upsetting. Nothing even remotely pornographic, really. We got more provocative images from searching for "Britney Spears", and that's considered harmless pop culture. After turning their SafeSearch off, it was a different story - but no kid would do that unless they were deliberately going looking for porn (or things they thought they shouldn't be seeing).
So, for the sake of logic, realism, and saving Australian internet from slow speeds and inappropriate blocking, do me a favour and sign this petition: