16 May Fighting a Scourge
by Alannah Hurley
Pornography is now easier than ever to access. It is available at the click of a button for adults, teens, and children. However, some states, parties and governments are beginning to see the dangers of pornography and are taking steps to increase awareness of those dangers and to protect people from them, especially children and teens.
“The Republican Party declared pornography a public health crisis at their convention last summer. The states of Utah, Virginia, South Dakota, and, most recently, Arkansas have all passed similar measures. The Canadian House of Commons is investigating the links between sexual violence and porn consumption.” And the United Kingdom has begun implementing an effective and meaningful age verification process for all pornography sites.
“Age verification is now a requirement for all significant commercial publishers of pornography wherever in the world they are based and whether or not they style themselves as being “free”. If they are about making money and they want to have access to the UK market they must have age verification. If they don’t they can be fined and ultimately ISPs will be required to block access to them in roughly the same way that they block access to child abuse images.”
The age verification system put into place will require an age limit to view certain explicit content. However, an individual will not be asked to put in their age themselves; a method previously used and easy to bypass if one was not of the appropriate age. Instead, public records will be searched by ISP’s to help identify age. A trusted third-party source will use existing data from data analysis companies, credit cards, mobile ID’s, etc. to obtain this information. This system is credible, effective and inexpensive and it is currently being examined by other countries.
Pornography is dangerous but it is especially harmful when viewed by children and teens. “Porn is anti-culture—it destroys relationships between the sexes, eliminates the understanding of real beauty, saps the desire for self-sacrificing relationships, and distracts from other pursuits.” It twists the views of masculinity, femininity and beauty and is a considerable time waster.
Citizens of the United States can write letters to government officials or join organizations like Fight the New Drug to help encourage states to further protect the minds of children and teens by restricting access to explicit images and videos.