One in five children aged eight has seen nude images on the internet, former children’s TV presenter Floella Benjamin told the House of Lords yesterday.
She was a presenter for BBC TV show Play School during the 80s, and is now a Liberal Democrat Peer in the House of Lords.
Speaking in a House of Lords debate, she called for the introduction of new safeguards.
Lady Benjamin said: “In a recent survey, 20 per cent of eight-year-olds said that they had seen nudity online”.
She asked Baroness Rawlings, a spokeswoman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport: “Are you aware that on the most popular websites children are exposed to advertising of an adult nature and are invited to explore links to very explicit websites?
“If so, will the Government consider encouraging Ofcom to take further measures to protect children and young people being targeted in this way by putting in place simple and practical steps so that online media owners can take action to prevent clear-cut examples of inappropriate content appearing in places where children are likely to see them?”
Baroness Rawlings replied: “You bring up a very, very valid point. The Government believes the protection of children from harmful content in our media is of the greatest importance.”
Last week Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt called on internet companies to do more to protect children from online pornography, or face tough new laws.
He thinks access to pornographic material should be turned off by default. Users would have to opt-in if they wanted to view it, giving parents more control.
And a report into the sexualisation of childhood recently recommended giving parents more help to combat the pressures faced by their children.
The report was welcomed by Prime Minister David Cameron who said he wanted to see action from the broadcasting watchdog, Ofcom, by October.