Recent research has ranked Portugal at number 14 in the world in terms of the amount of people accessing websites with paedophilic content. The Italian study also revealed that children could be in danger if they are left unsupervised and enter internet chat rooms. According to the research, 27 per cent of European children ‘surf’ the internet without any kind of supervision from parents or teachers.
Maria João Pena, from the Instituto de Apoio à Criança, which is affiliated to the European Federation for Missing and Sexually Exploited Children, told journalists that the situation is more worrying in Portugal. There is no official body to monitor the internet for young people and, therefore, no protection is in place to safeguard children. She also admitted that many parents are unaware of the dangers of using the internet and so are unable to help their children to surf safely.
Portugal has been criticised by the European Union and the European Commission for their lack of interest in striving to make the internet safer for children. The Portuguese government has also faced criticism for a lack of effort in participating in an EU wide action plan, set up in every European country to explore the problems and issues that are facing European surfers, and then share information and provide solutions.