U.K. Adult Industry Supports Child Protection Initiative

Lila Gray

LONDON — To coincide with Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, the largest providers of regulated adult services in the U.K. will relaunch xxxaware.co.uk, a site that offers practical guidance to parents on how to prevent minors from accessing age-unsuitable videos and images online. 

The site has been developed by adult broadcaster Portland TV with industry support from Studio 66 TV, Paul Raymond Publications, WMIT and age-verification specialists Veridu and Intelligent Identity. 

Since xxxaware launched last February, the U.K. government has increased the pressure on ISPs to introduce default Internet filters on all WiFi-enabled devices. Sky, BT and TalkTalk have responded with their so-called active choice "opt in" for all new customers, which requires users to specifically request that the filters be removed.  

xxxaware reps note that there are already concerns about the extent to which these filters may be underblocking or overblocking, and either providing insufficient protection or conversely restricting access to legitimate sites.

xxxaware serves as a resource to inform parents of the range of tools available by offering a round-up of parental controls on a device-by-device basis. As the website develops, the site makers say they it will reach out to parents via social media for feedback to tweek their strategy.

As an industry wide initiative, xxxaware hopes to encourage the uptake of parental controls “so that adults can continue to access the content they want, without risk to children and without heavy-handed government intervention.,” reps said in a release. 

The xxxaware initiative has been driven by Portland TV’s managing director, Chris Ratcliff. Ratcliff has worked in the regulated adult sector since 1995 as a broadcaster, DVD distributor and on-demand provider. He was a founding member of the Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA), sat on the board of ATVOD (the Authority for Television On Demand) and is now working to advise policymakers on regulatory reform.

Ratcliff explained how his own children have affected his perspective, saying “Having children has really focused my mind. I want them to grow up with Internet access from an early age. The problem is there’s so much inappropriate content for them to stumble across. To restrict this you need the right tools for the job, particularly if you want to continue to access adult sites yourself. xxxaware is designed to help parents to make informed choices and find the solution that is right for them.”

For more information, contact Hayley Byrne at 020-7308-5490 or hayley.byrne@portlandtv.co.uk.