As the national communications regulator in the UK, protecting children from harmful or inappropriate material is one of Ofcom's most important duties. Here, the organisation's Cathy Taylor explains how they do it
What are the rules for online content?
‘The rules protect children from the most harmful material’
Most content appearing online is watched ‘on demand’. The video on demand rules apply to services like ITV Hub and Amazon Prime, and also UK-based adult services online. The rules protect children from the most harmful material – they restrict access to hardcore pornography to adults only, and don’t allow any material which would incite hatred, or which would be banned on video. There are also rules which help children to distinguish between advertising and programme content.
Knowledge is power!
Ofcom’s research helps us regulate online television and video on demand. But it’s also a source of information for parents and industry. We work with lots of great organisations providing information for children, parents and teachers. For a series of advice guides for parents and carers see this section of our website.
A coordinated approach
How do I complain about online content?
 At the moment the BBC is largely self-regulated by the BBC Trust and its executive board, with a fraction of the regulation done by Ofcom. In March 2016, The Clementi report recommended that Ofcom should be the sole regulator of the BBC. In May 2016 a government white paper on the BBC outlining plans to hand over regulation of the BBC to Ofcom. In the meantime, for details on how to complain about BBC content go to BBC Complaints or Ofcom.
The advice published on Parent Info is provided by independent experts in their field and not necessarily the views of Parent Zone or CEOP.
First published: November 2016
Updated: May 2018