back to article Mumsnet founder: Our members are 'very keen' on PORN ...

Mumsnet founder Justine Roberts piled back into the net-nannying debate yesterday, calling on ISPs to do more to guard their youngest customers while confirming that many of her readers are themselves avid smut fans. Roberts, who was slated earlier this year for supporting Tory plans for ISPs to impose wider blocks on content …


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  1. NinjasFTW

    people involved?

    <quote>But she recognised that often parents often don't take advantage of the tools already available, such as Google Safesearch.

    So, she continued, "I think the regulators should put pressure on the people involved, the ISPs to come up with a solution to this."</quote>

    Um isn't the people that are involved the parents?

  2. Nigel Brown
    Paris Hilton

    Hmm, a quandry

    I used to wonder why anyone gave airtime to this collection of pre-menstrual, hysterical saddoes. Now I'm considering joing purely for some Friday night fun.

    Paris. Explanation not needed.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You may have heard of this.

      It's the internet. Everybody has equal airtime. It's your choice to read it.

      1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge
        Thumb Down

        @ AC

        "Roberts was on a panel discussing "The limits of free speech online" at a Google privacy conference." So, not just "equal airtime", but an invited speaker to a major conference. So, back to the original question - why does anyone give these hysterical, reactionary whingebags a platform?

  3. Anonymous Coward

    Avoidence of responsibility

    The founder of "mumsnet" is not an authority on anything other than how to create a social network that brings together *some* likeminded people.

    She has no special authority on how to regulate the internet, nor even if such regulation is required. She doesnt even speak for all of mumsnet.

    This strikes me as yet another of the almost constant whine about "There are bad things on the internet but I dont want to have to supervise or interact with my kids so you have to make it safe for them."

    If people spent less time whining about some smut on the web and more time with their kids, joining in their activities and trying to learn about what was going on, this problem would pretty much go away.

    Just like TV a few generations ago, the internet is NOT a babysitter. Ignorance is not a reason to make others spend time and money to solve problems.

    As a parent, and member of Mumsnet (shamefully), I am happy to take full responsibility for what I see and do online and what my children see and do online. I do NOT want an unaccountable third party getting to choose what is or isnt suitable for my children.

    1. Chika

      The Right Honourable Lord Sir Postin the Response

      I've been arguing this point from a slightly different angle for years now, but I couldn't agree more. Some parents are too eager to abdicate their responsibility to whatever technology is around, then wonder why their kids grow up to be idiots or worse.

      If I can't trust somebody with a hammer (or whatever), then I don't ban all hammers, and I don't start some form of collective to decide on the size and distribution of hammers either!

      I feel that some bodies, gubbermint included, are too keen to look for ways to censor our lives just to score brownie points.

    2. TeeCee Gold badge

      Avoidence of responsibility

      Too true, but all too common.

      A good example I saw the other day was in one of the wife's trash mags (and yes, there was a significant rise in blood pressure on reading it). Some stupid woman turned on the hot tap for kiddy's bath and then went to answer the door. Kiddy fell in bath and damned near boiled itself to death.

      The result, rather than an acceptance of fault (try running the cold at the same time or even not leaving unattended toddlers next to a bathful of water) is a bloody campaign to force domestic hot water systems to only allow a maximum temperature of 40 degrees. Obvious first objection, bit of a pisser if you have a large family and can no longer provide sufficient hot water for bathing / showering etc. from one tankful.

      I'm looking forward to the knee-jerk legislation resulting and then a good long snigger, as the UK goes down to an epidemic of Legionnaires disease and other such nasties that delight in a nice tankful of warm water.

      Is always "society's" faults and not mines yes???

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        The UK

        should finally get rid of the obscure tradition for separate taps for cold and hot water. Winston Churchill was amazed by mixer taps in the 1940s when he travelled across Europe and yet these totally useless taps are still here.

        I therefore suggest making separate taps illegal through modification of Health and Safety Regulations (with the obvious exception of "there's no hot water somewhere - a single tap for cold water suffices)

        1. Cheshire Cat

          Theres a reason

          Theres a reson the UK has separate taps - I originally wondered why there are no mixer taps, too.

          The reason is that the UK houses normally use a gravity-fed hot water cylinder, rather than a mains-pressure system. This means that the hot and cold water systems are at different pressures, which means that you need a special mixer tap (which has only been available more recently) to prevent the cold water going backwards up into the hot water system.

          In New Zealand (and US, europe...) hot water systems are usually pressurised, so you can have mixer taps (and people usually do).

          End of trivial nugget. Now you know more!

          1. Wize

            Erm... but I have mixer taps...

            Pain in the arse when you want a drink of tap water. Never really cold.

  4. Anonymous Coward

    Uhh ok.

    What a rather flawed plot. First off it's NOT the ISP's job to filter smut. ISPs customers do not range strictly to nagging mothers, they have buisness customers et others to worry about more than Parents. If this organization, 'Mumsnet' wants to be respected, they should stop being hipocrites and actually practice what they preach. If it bothers them *SO* much, There is a simple solution

    1. Install Parental Controls

    2. Stop nagging the government, They'll never help

    3. Stop nagging the ISPs. They'll never help.

    4. ???

    5. Profit.

    1. streaky Silver badge

      The problem..

      is number 2 - they will, which is why it's pretty frightning, that or they'll legislate for #3 - also worrying.

      A good proxy or VPN will round all this stuff anyways which makes it all top-to-bottom pointless.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First site to censor...

    I'd put mumsnet on the list of things to censor immediately, all those people talking about babies and young children isn't natural..

    I find the posts about Controlled Crying particularly offensive

  6. Thomas 4

    Oh please

    Why do governments and companies insist on listening to these whiny, self-important overprotective people? It's really not rocket science to look at a browsers page history and if your juvenille-delinquent-in-training has been looking at something they shouldn't have been, then take their damn computer away. Want to know why the web is full of messed up shit? It's because people are messed up shit and like it or not, your precious little angel is one day going to wake up to the fact that s/he is messed up shit, just like his/her parents.

    Now piss off back to the Daily Mail forums where your kind is tolerated.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well Said

      "I find the posts about Controlled Crying particularly offensive"

      Controlled crying is giving child abuse a more family friendly name. It even features in the NSPCC adverts.

      1. M Gale

        Sticky issue.

        When does "comforting a crying child" become "spoiling a little brat who's learned that all s/he has to do is bawl"?

        As the title says.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          ok, done deal

          Some people don't like controlled crying

          Some people don't like porn

          I guess we should ban both just in case

          what else, oh, I really dislike red cars,

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward


            I really dislike red cars too! Silver ones are almost as bad.

            1. Luther Blissett

              Yes! +10^10

              Silver cars are terrible! If you have one, never leave it in large car park. You will only find it (or something like it) after everyone else has gone home.

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              I *thought* that

              Mumsnet was massively against the lovely (spit) Gina ford and her controlled crying campaign?

              FWIW, I burned the copy of her bloody awful book so it didn't end up in some impressionable person's hands.

              1. Anonymous Coward


                yeah, mumsnet, totally against controlled crying .. read how they tell you not to do it


      2. Shakje

        I'm not sure what sort of extreme controlled crying you're talking about...

        Real situation: baby (and by that I mean about a year old) won't settle at nights. You've got a choice of walking out and leaving him to settle, crying himself to sleep until he drops off (which is not something we did), or sitting with him and holding his hand until he drops off. Taking the first option is pretty difficult, but taking the second option means that if he wakes up he doesn't go back to sleep for half an hour because he gets worried that you're not still there. Or, if he's in a not-very-tired mood, you can be sat in his room holding his hand for an hour waiting for him to nod off.

        Now look, we wouldn't use controlled crying in its most regimented form, but simply put it's just a way of letting your baby know that you're still there and that there's nothing to worry about, but that it's not a problem you leaving the room. There's nothing barbaric about that. It's a straight-forward solution, and one that works.

        Unless you've never had kids, or they've all grown up long ago, or you're spoiling your kid rotten, or, possibly, you're very new parents who think they know it all because they've read a few books and have yet to lose that smug grin, I can't honestly see how you could believe that this sort of solution is at all wrong. If anything, it's the middle ground between potentially very damaging solutions.

        As regards Mumsnet, I don't share any of Roberts' views (AFAIK), and some of the topics on there are utterly ridiculous and Mail-worthy, but it can be a good resource for finding out about new places and facilities etc.

        1. Anonymous Coward


          You're missing a significant (and very, very effective) option through a dumb assumption: why does the baby have to be in a separate room from you?

          The best way to get them to stop crying is to answer the cry - that's what it's bloody there for, to register distress and need of comfort. If you're trying to rush back to your bed then the baby will pick up on this and cry louder. So take the baby back to bed with you (unless you're off your head on booze or stronger), cuddle him/her and both go back to sleep together.

          What you're doing with 'controlled crying' is *not* letting your baby know you're still there - babies don't have that level of understanding; once something's out of sight, it's not understood to be coming back (this develops much later). So what you're doing is training your child to understand that their distress won't get answered. No wonder he/she will shut themselves down emotionally and stop crying. Good luck with the trying to get them to talk about their problems with you through their teenage years. But don't worry, boys/big girls don't cry, eh?

          No, not a smug new parent - 3 children, oldest is 9.

    2. John I'm only dancing


      Didn't those nice, shiny Windows 7 ads make a big thing of private browsing, which I'm sure these would-be porn loving delinquents know all about. Kids will do what kids do, like it or not and no amount of concerned mums will prevent it. At least in my day, it was a good game acquiring top shelf material to look at delightful women displaying their charms.

      The genie is out the bottle and the cork has been lost.

      1. chr0m4t1c

        No lost

        I don't think the cork is lost, it's just somewhere unhygienic.


        So I've heard, anyway....

      2. Smallbrainfield

        Windows Live Family Safety logs site visits.

        Not sure whether it covers inprivate browsing, but it defauts Google and Bing to safe search etc. Great fun can be had setting access times.

        Best option is keep the PC in a family room and keep an eye on what they're doing.

    3. Luther Blissett

      @ Thomas 4

      > Why do governments and companies insist on listening to these whiny, self-important overprotective people?

      You're in no fit state to party. I'll get your coat.

  7. Tom 15

    Pretty simple

    The answer to this is pretty simple. Come up with a best-effort, porn free DNS and provide parents access to it. Job done and then the ball is in their court.

  8. Pete 2 Silver badge

    Parental responsibility?

    > parents needed to be given tools to control what's coming into their homes.

    Parents already have this: they just choose not to, or choose not to find out how to, use it. A lot of people (still) consider having children to be a "right", rather than a responsibility - though it's really both. However, the willingness and ability to accept responsibility for raising YOUR children is the only measure of a good parent. It's not the state's job, it's not society's job, nor is it solely up to schools or the welfare services and it's definitely not the responsibility of a tenner-a-month internet service provider.

    Maybe what we need are two sorts of ISP, distinguished by the answer to a simple question on the sign-up screen: Will children have access to material from this internet connection?

    If the answer is "yes", the applicant is politely referred to the protected service, which has a cost structure that reflects both the additional work needed to screen the 'net connection of suspect content and the additional possibility of compo-seeking gimme's who will try to sue if they find their standards haven't been met. The other, non-protected, service would say simply: Here's our no-frills connection, off you go but don't come wingeing to us ...

    Maybe mumsnet should start it's own, premium, protected, ISP to practice what they preach I would be interested to see whether parental principles extend so far as actually paying for what they believe in, or it's it's just a case of assuming it's another "right"?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Thumb Up


      OpenDNS allows users to filter by category. You have to subscribe to use that feature, but it is still a free service. Not perfect, certainly - as with any content filtering there are ways around it, but as a way to help prevent accidental exposure to the garbage on the net it helps.

    2. Steve Brooks

      not good enough

      You already know thats not going to work. No matter how much you filter out, in fact you could filter out 99.99% of the internet, but someone, somewhere, will still find something to complain about. The correct answer is, when someone stands up and demands the net be censored we do it on an individual basis by going around and removing all their computers and disconnecting their internet. That way people who don't like the naughty stuff will never ever see it, and people who do like it can see it whenever they want, job done! Perfect, 100% accurate censorship, but we don't actually censor the intenet, we censor the poeple.

    3. Anonymous Coward

      parents needed to be given tools to control what's coming into their homes.

      They have - it's called the 'power' button.

      Press it and stuff can come into their homes.

      Press it again and it can't


      1. Stoneshop Silver badge

        @AC 20:22

        Well, the problem bit is that any finger can press the power button, it's not restricted to just the parents.

        Back when I had a Siemens telly (B/W, that's how far back back when was) that had a key-like widget in the power button. Take it out and the button was blocked in the 'off' state. Not totally undefeatable, but good enough for the purpose, and, IMO, a sensible feature.

        Nowadays it should be easy enough to add a fingerprint power button, with settable access times (window and length). But these whinging procreating twats will then ask for subsidised installation and guvmint-controlled setup and logging.

  9. There's a bee in my bot net

    Child friendly ISPs

    I'm not sure if any still exist, but many moons ago there were several specialist ISP's that provided just such a service to schools and parents. So if these things still operate then problem solved. Switch to such a service. (Or as others have pointed out, stop being lazy and learn to use one or more of the plethora of tools available. Or as the UK apparently has an abundance of unemployed home grown techies kicking around, perhaps these mums can pay them for their time and expertise rather than asking a friend who 'knows something about computers' to set it up and then offering them a paltry sum as token payment).

    Q) What would mums net pron fiends do for their pron fix once their ISP is filtering pron for them?

    A) Ask their child how they would setup a proxy, VPN or Tor!

    1. Elmer Phud Silver badge


      There were a few some time back, they spent a lot of dosh pimpingthemselves at school IT exhibitions. They were all, pretty much, rubbish. They provide thier own list of who and who not to connect to - if you want anything useful, tough.

      I had some fun with one of them who boasted that they were porn free - they were not filtering search engines properly so I found a quiet spot on thier stand and went to Altavista, did a quick search on a female name and viewed the results in graphics mode and then called one of thier reps over. After a bit of headless chickens imitation one of the company heads came over and quietly said that the fix was in thier next build.

  10. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Marcus Aurelius


      The World Wide Web experience that you know has up to know has been pretty much funded by porn. Providers of such are often the ones that have been willing to pay for large amounts of high speed bandwidth to support more customers. It is only in the last few years that other sectors of internet have started to outdo porn in the bandwidth consumption stakes.

      The ability of the basement dwellers to watch other people doping what they don't get much chance to do themselves is pretty limitless, it seems...

    2. david 63

      You're detracting from my internet experience...

      ...remove yourself from it at once.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Yes lets ban all PRON on the internet.... NOT

      " it just detracts from the whole world wide web experience. It is a disgrace."

      And I find the somewhat sordid lives of soap "stars" or football players detracts from MY experience of the internet. So I just avoid areas which have lots of this kind of thing, though it does intrude quite often e.g. most news sites.

      If you don't like, don't look. And as a parent maybe you should manage your children rather than expect everyone else to change their lives around what you want?

    4. Anonymous Coward


      As a parent, and a web designer,

      - Classic kick-off here. Roles that have no more relevance to the next assertion than if you'd written "As someone who periodically dresses up as a chipmunk".

      the answer is to remove the pornography from the Internet.

      - Flesh that one out for us. A detailed "why" and a proposed "how" would be a good start. Pretty sure other answers have been proposed.

      Aside from the constant issue of access by children,

      - Access is something that is granted. Responsibility of the parent comes into play here to control that.

      it just detracts from the whole world wide web experience.

      - In your opinion of what the "world wide web experience" is.

      It is a disgrace.

      - See above.

      I've really got to assume this was flame bait.

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ClareCares (not really safe for work - but funny) - I start with this because I suspect you are trolling, however I suppose there is an outside chance you (or someone reading this) actually believes your post..........

      Now, on a serious note, there are many things that are considered restricted, some such as cocaine are restricted to everybody - in effect removed from society (yes I know that you can still plenty get coke but there are legal consequences for making, selling and possessing it).

      Others, such as cigarettes, alcohol, restricted films/videos, voting, driving cars, having sex, etc. are deemed inappropriate up to a certain age and OK after that with the acceptable age dependent on the restricted content.

      So why should the internet be any different? letting 10 year olds drive cars on the road would be absurdly insane and very dangerous to the child and those around them - but we don't ban cars we restrict children from driving. So clearly the way to address legal, age restricted porn on the internet is to ban children from going online - simples as the really irritating meerkat would say.

      Or we could be sensible about this and leave the responsibility up to the parents - I imagine you control your children's access to any tobacco and alcohol products you have in the house (with consequences if they steal any) and if you have a physical porn stash you keep it safely locked away - so why should the web be any different?

      Or are you trying to make things easier for the really bone-idle lazy parents who 10 years ago would have just sat their child in front of the TV rather than actually parenting - safe in the knowledge that someone else controlled the content so not only did they not have to bother bringing up their own kids but they didn't even have to take any interest in what said kids were doing during the time they couldn't be bothered parenting them - rather than now where they cannot just sit their kiddies in front of a computer all day without having to answer questions like "mummy, why has that man put his hand up that lady's bottom?" or worse?

    6. BryanM


      How dare you put all those 'web designers' out of work!

    7. CD001


      Would it not be simpler just to ban children from the Internet? As the song goes "the Internet is for porn"...

      So much pioneering tech on the web (probably on the Internet as a whole) came about because of the porn industry (streaming solutions, micro-payment and subscription systems and so on) - hell, we've even got computer games characters appearing in Playboy now (Triss Merrigold, Playboy Poland for instance) - what better advert could you have for just how good your CGI team is?

      If you were a "Web Designer" of any calibre you'd know this; you obviously have no interest in the field you're working in and should, maybe, look for another line of work - try volunteering for Childline or something.

      Why is porn a disgrace anyway? You've got kids - therefore you've done live action porn yourself - what's the big deal? Or are you so terribly puritanical you have to lie back and think of the pope and remember you're only doing this to propagate the species?

      People really do make way too big a deal out of shagging IMO.

      1. ClareCares
        Thumb Down

        All boys together then ?

        So this would be the forum of the Bullingdon club then? I ask the majority of commentators above should your desire to objectify women supersede the rights of the children of my partner and I?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Here I sit

          Broken hearted...

        2. Oli Wright

          You're really not helping your cause here you know

          Absolutely not, and the same in reverse*. I wouldn't even want to begin to get into an argument over the comparison between those two sets of "rights". Unfortunately, as is pretty standard in discussions where someone starts assigning perceived "rights", this has little to do with rights and everything to do with responsibility. You have every right to grant your offspring access to the wealth of information available on the internet. With this comes your responsibility to ensure that there are limits in place on that information as per your own requirements. There is no responsibility for others to do this for you. There is also no such thing (and I'll qualify that with an "in my opinion" to avoid some unforseen pedantry) as an implicit right.

          The debate over whether porn objectifies women is irrelevant here, this is about information control and censorship, regardless of the content. Please stop littering your posts with irrelevancies for the sake of rhetoric.

          * Just to make it perfectly clear, what I'm saying here is a) the rights of people who desire to objectify women don't supersede the rights of the children of you and your partner AND b) the rights of the children of you and your partner do not supersede the rights of people who desire to objectify women.

        3. cyborg

          Oh, so you have no problem with gay porn then?

          Just men objectifying men.

          Are you for real? Because I can believe there are people that oblivious to reality.

          Never mind anyone else's rights.

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Rights and wrongs..

          ClareCares: I ask the majority of commentators above should your desire to objectify women supersede the rights of the children of my partner and I?

          Your right they should not superceed your rights.

          However by the same token why should the rights of you, your partner or children superceed anyones elses rights to use porn if they wish to?

          And in most (and I accept not all) the female talent in these movies *KNOW* what they are doing, they know what many people will be doing whilst watching these films, and they don't care that people objectify them when they pick up the pay cheque.

          1. Titus Technophobe


            I object strongly to your referring to the Bullingdon club in tones that imply that they are just a bunch of lads who need to look at smutty photos.

        5. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          So, how does my wanting to objectify women either force your children to also objectify women or in any way prevent you from actually doing your parenting job and actually parenting?

          Don't your children deserve the right to have caring parents who will protect them from inappropriate things on the internet rather than just bitching and doing nothing? More than they need to be protected from internet porn throughout their adult lives?


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