Collective Shout welcomes the Federal Government’s support for the development of a roadmap for the roll out of an age verification system to help protect children from exposure to online pornography.
The Government expressed its support in its response to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report ‘Protecting the age of innocence’ tabled in February 2020 (https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Social_Policy_and_Legal_Affairs/Onlineageverification/Report).
In its final report on the inquiry into age verification for online wagering and pornography, the Committee said there was “widespread and genuine concern…about the serious impacts on the welfare of children” associated with porn exposure. Age verification “could create a significant barrier to prevent young people…from exposure to harmful online content.”
Collective Shout had pressured the Government to respond to the 16-month-old recommendation. We have been documenting the harms of pornography to children for a decade.
There are currently no barriers to prevent child from entering rape, sadism, torture porn and incest sites. As a result of this harmful experiment on the sexual development of children, many are acting out in sexually inappropriate ways, becoming copycat predators.
Child development experts report treating more children for compulsive porn use and problematic sexual behaviour. Young girls reveal they are regularly subjected to sexual harassment, groping, being hassled for sexual pics and demands to provide sex acts.
We tell boys to respect girls, but porn - the world’s biggest department of education - teaches them the opposite. They are taught to see sex and aggression as linked.
An age verification system would complement other strategies the Government, educational, and community groups are undertaking to help limit harms of explicit content. While not a ‘fix-all’, proof-of-age requirements would provide a much needed layer of protection for children vulnerable to the predatory porn industry.
We thank the Committee for its vital work on the issue and hope the plan will not be derailed by vested interests.
The vested interests of a multi-billion industry - whose business model relies on building the next generation of consumers - can no longer be put before the wellbeing of children and the community.
June 1, 2021
Contact: Melinda Tankard Reist, Movement Director [email protected]