London, Dec 27 (ANI): Internet sites could be given 'cinema-style age ratings' under the government's plan to curb offensive and harmful online activity, according to Britain's Cultural Secretary.
Andy Burnham plans to discuss the proposal with Barack Obama's incoming American administration to draw up new international rules for English language websites.
He describes the Internet as "quite a dangerous place" and says he wants internet-service providers (ISPs) to offer parents "child-safe" web services.
On being asked Burnham confirmed that the government plans to give movie-style age ratings to individual websites.
"Yes, that would be an option. This is an area that is really now coming into full focus," the Telegraph quoted him as saying.
ISPs, such as BT, Tiscali, AOL or Sky might be compelled to offer internet services where the only websites accessible are those deemed suitable for children.
It is believed that the move to censor some websites might trigger a major row with online advocates who viciously guard the freedom of the World Wide Web.
Dad of three young children, Burnham said that his goal is for Internet providers to offer "child-safe" web services.
"It worries me - like anybody with children," he said.
"Leaving your child for two hours completely unregulated on the Internet is not something you can do. This isn't about turning the clock back.
"The internet has been empowering and democratising in many ways but we haven't yet got the stakes in the ground to help people navigate their way safely around...what can be a very, very complex and quite dangerous world," he added.
Burnham also wants new industry-wide "take down times". This means that if websites such as YouTube or Facebook are alerted to offensive or harmful content they will have to remove it within a specified time once it is brought to their attention. (ANI)