Research from Mott MacDonald Schema, a leading UK based independent management consultancy advising the technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) industries, has revealed that nearly half (48%) of internet users don’t believe that internet service providers (ISPs) and social networks are doing enough to prevent harmful content being accessed online.(i)

The YouGov survey of almost 2,000 internet users also revealed conflicting opinions about who should be responsible for protecting children online – the parents or the provider. Although 90% of respondents feel that parents should be accountable for protecting their children online, two thirds (64%) also believe ISPs and websites should be held accountable for online content.

The research also revealed that internet users welcomed further government and industry involvement, with almost two thirds (62%) of respondents believing the internet would benefit from increased levels of regulation. However, despite the expectation that a certain level of protection is to be provided by the ISPs, more than one in three people would be unwilling to reveal personal data, such as age, to their ISP for security purposes.

Annoula Peppas, senior media consultant at Mott MacDonald Schema, said: “Consumers often look to ISPs to protect them from harmful online content but are reluctant to share the personal information that would make that protection possible. There needs to be a better understanding of how personal information will be used before it will be widely accepted by the public that their data is safe. A collaborative effort is needed to increase internet safety, while educating and empowering consumers to better protect themselves. With ever increasing ways to access the internet, from mobile phones to games consoles, it is imperative that the supply chain agree on a solution that the public will accept and actively use.”

Published on: 12:00AM on 4th December 2008