Porn, Kids, and Brexit: Weighing In on UK Age Verification Law

porn and kids

A new law requiring online porn users to prove they are adults via an age verification process is the topic of a major story in The Guardian on March 24, 2019, featuring Dr. Gail Dines, president and CEO of Culture Reframed.

The age verification law was slated to go into effect in April. Due to uncertainty about Brexit, “it may not be unveiled until after the Brexit impasse is resolved as the government…believes it will be a good news story that will play well with the public when it is eventually unveiled,” sources told The Guardian/Observer.

In the story, Dines explains that free, hardcore porn is accessible to anyone with a smart device, and that children are especially vulnerable. “When you look at 30 years of empirical research, anyone who argues that porn does not have a profound impact on the social, emotional, [and] cognitive development of kids is akin to a climate change denier.”

The Guardian story revealed that the British government’s own impact assessment of the new law demonstrated that, among young people, “intentional exposure to violent X-rated material over time predicted an almost sixfold increase in the odds of self-reported sexually aggressive behavior.”

An excerpt from the story:

Will Law Affect How Much Porn Kids Access?

For many young people, though, the new law will not change the way they consume porn.

“A lot of kids are not getting porn through Pornhub,” Dines said. “They are getting it through Instagram and Snapchat.” On social media platforms, banned material is often hidden behind hashtags and emojis which act as secret codes to tag searches.

Ultimately, ways will be found to get around the new law, but Dines predicted that it will “massively” restrict the amount of porn that children can view.

More importantly, it will denormalise the activities of the world’s last unregulated industry. As Dines put it: “This shifts social discourse.”

Read the full story on porn, kids and Brexit.

Teens taking a selfie

Where are your kids getting their sex education? Their smartphones? In this digital age, it’s critical for young people to have trusted adults to help them build resilience and resistance to hypersexualized media and porn. Check out Culture Reframed’s free online Programs for Parents of Tweens and Program for Parents of Teens.


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