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Thursday, 9 April, 1998, 08:34 GMT 09:34 UK
Teachers' fears over Internet porn
Computer screen
Teachers fear they could be held legally responsible if pupils get access to pornographic sites
Teachers in the UK are demanding more money for schools to help prevent pupils accessing pornography on the Internet.

Members of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL), who are holding their annual conference in Bournemouth, want the government to provide new software which filters out obscene material.

Computer screen
Internet access to pornographic sites can be just clicks away
The government has pledged that by 2002, every school will be connected to the Internet and able to download material from educational databases around the world.

But the ATL is concerned about how easily children can find their way to pornographic or racially offensive material that no parent would want them to see.

It can take just seconds and a couple of clicks on a mouse to access obscene text or pictures.

Some of it may even have been attached to innocent material.

Mike Moore
Teacher Mike Moore calls for safeguards
Mike Moore, an information technology teacher, said: "You may be looking for something about your local football team and somebody else in another part of the world has accessed that material and attached their own picture - pornographic material - to that file."

The ATL fears that teachers in charge of a class of up to 30 pupils may not be able to monitor continuously what is on their computer screens.

It could leave them open to criticism and even legal action by parents who hold them responsible.

The union wants educational software manufacturers and Internet access providers to set up safeguards which make it impossible for children to abuse the technology.

It has already linked up with one firm which has created a special filtering device which constantly monitors and bars offensive material.

See also:

06 Aug 98 | Sci/Tech
'Cybercops' fight to clean-up Net
03 Mar 98 | Sci/Tech
Child sex images removed by watchdog
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