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April 25, 2012 Print

Dig Deeper: Children’s Access to Pornography A Concern

by Chad Hills

According to a recent Parliamentary report in the United Kingdom (U.K.), titled Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection:

  • Four out of five 16-year-old boys and girls regularly access porn online.
  • One in three 10-year-old children has seen sexually explicit material.
  • The report suggested 12 percent of young teenagers were involved in sharing intimate images of themselves, which were often circulated around the class when a relationship broke up.
  • The privately run Portland Clinic in London reported that 26 percent of young people coming to it for psychological treatment were hooked on internet porn.

The U.K. Parliamentary official (MP) who requested the report, Claire Perry, is being proactive and asking for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to do more to ensure the safety of children from pornography and other vice materials.

Some of the recommendations coming out of the report findings include:

  • The Government initiate a formal review of an Opt-In filter to access adult material on the internet;
  • The Government should press for accelerated implementation plans for “Active Choice”; the content filtering system proposed for new internet customers by the largest ISPs;
  • Within 12 months, ISPs should roll out “single account” network filters that provide one-click filtering for all devices connected to the same internet account;
  • A single regulator should take lead responsibility on internet safety;
  • Public Wi-Fi networks should have a default adult-content bar;
  • Government and industry should draw up new guidelines to publicise existing safety settings on computers and internet-enabled devices;
  • ISPs should provide more support and signposting for internet safety education.

According to the Enough Is Enough site, a non-partisan, non-profit organization, established in 1994, to make the Internet safer for children and families, pornography statistics in the United States aren’t much better than in the U.K. (all Enough Is Enough statistics include citations).

Consider that in the United States:

  • More than 13 percent of all pornography revenues ($97 billion) come from the U.S. (Internet Filter Review, 2006)
  • Every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is made in the U.S. (Internet Filter Review, 2006)
  • 63 percent of teens said they know how to hide what they do online from their parents, and 43 percent have closed or minimized the browser at the sound of a parental step. Also, 11 percent have unlocked/disabled/ parental/filtering controls. (Harris Interactive-McAfee 10/2008)
  • Teens whose parents have talked to them “a lot” about Internet safety are more concerned about the risks of sharing personal info online than teens whose parents are less involved. (National Teen Internet Survey, 2007)
  • Forty-two percent of Internet users aged 10 to 17 surveyed said they had seen online pornography in a recent 12-month span. Of those, 66 percent said they did not want to view the images and had not sought them out…. sizable numbers of 10- and 11-year-olds also had unwanted exposure  – 17 percent of boys and 16 percent of girls that age. (Pediatrics, V. 119, No2, Feb. 2007)
  • Just because you live in a Christian home, pornography can still be a problem. Consider that 50 percent of all Christian men and 20 percent of all Christian women are addicted to pornography. (MarketWire.com, 2006)
  • Christian pastors are not immune from pornography, either:  51 percent of pastors say cyber-porn is a possible temptation, and 37 percent say it is a current struggle and 75 percent of pastors do not make themselves accountable to anyone for their Internet use  (this survey was taken in 2001).

What do you think? Should Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in the U.S. make better policies and changes to their platforms to protect children and families, as the U.K. official, Claire Perry, is trying to do? Have you struggled with accidentally stumbling on – or being solicited by – pornography online? Share your story with CitizenLink.

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