“Our position has always been, parents should have the ability to filter at their end,” says Malone. “Client-end filtering works reasonably well, still doesn’t provide you with an entirely safe environment, but at least it means the parent has some control over what the child is viewing. Try to do that at the ISP [level], and you’re asking us to make decisions for the entire country.”

A white-list at the client-end is the simplest, cheapest and most effective solution, Hackett says. Families give their children a white-listed version of the Internet, and add new sites and applications by exception upon their child’s request.

“Apple already does a good job of this in Leopard — its got a nice system whereby if you go to a web site that’s not there [on the white list], the parents will log-in, authenticate and add that site on demand. And just incrementally keep adding until they stop asking. That stuff works — and again you notice that’s a client-side decision, that’s not a network side decision.” — ZDNet Australia