Prime Minister David Cameron has spoken of his fears as a father over internet safety as he launched an international crackdown on “evil” online child abuse.
He unveiled a package of measures including a new offence of sending sexual messages to children aimed at stopping paedophiles from requesting indecent images from youngsters.
He also announced that crime-fighters and spies will join forces to tackle persistent paedophiles who use the so-called “dark net” to share horrific pictures and videos.
A joint specialist unit run by the National Crime Agency (NCA) and listening post GCHQ will target the most prolific offenders who are using increasingly sophisticated techniques to hide their true identities and encrypt and share online child abuse images.
Addressing a two-day online child abuse summit, Mr Cameron said he was approaching the troubling issue of online child abuse, not just as Prime Minister but as a “dad”.
“I have a 10-year-old, an eight-year-old and a four-year-old and I want them to grow up on safe streets but also grow up with safe internet too,” he said.
“Children growing up in our world today, there are lots of threats they face. The threats are evolving.
“I’m 48, I don’t want to seem like a fuddy-duddy, but when I grew up, it was ‘Could you help Dad work the betamax video recorder?’
“Now we have tablets, iPads, iPhones, DSs in the house ... a whole set of new things we have to do make sure our children are safe.”
Mr Cameron said he and his wife Samantha had applied filters to computers and other devices in their home to keep the internet safe for their children.
The PM urged parents and children to talk to each other about the dangers of online child sexual exploitation but added: “That’s difficult for parents - we’re still learning a lot about the internet ourselves.”
In his speech, he praised internet companies for going “above and beyond” to tackle internet paedophiles - but warned that they should be expected to do the same for terrorists.
His comment comes shortly after social networking website Facebook was criticised by a parliamentary watchdog for failing to flag disturbing messages sent by one of the killers of soldier Lee Rigby.