Protect children from pornography, 2012

The National Council of Women, in Conference assembled, deeply concerned about the physical, mental and moral harm internet pornography could have on children and wishing to protect them, calls on Her Majesty’s Government to make it compulsory for Internet Service Providers to block pornography at source so that pornography can only be accessed by an adult exercising an active choice.

Reasons: (a) There is ample evidence that young people have accessed pornography online and according to psychologists, viewing porn is more addictive than drugs and alcohol.  Research shows that viewing pornography can lead to an acceptance of violent and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships, where women are treated as sex objects and aggressive and violent sexual behaviour is regarded as the norm. Learning about sex without any relationship connections – pornography is a poor sex educator.  Exposure to pornography helps to sustain young people’s adherence to sexist and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships.  Dr Michael Flood 2009; (b) It is suggested it is the responsibility of parents to control their children’s viewing and use parental controls to switch off pornography sites into homes.  However, this can be costly and complicated and many parents are unaware of the content and effect of pornography on their children. Not all parents are computer-literate and each generation is more knowledgeable than the previous one; often busy parents are unable to keep up with the technology. The onus is all on the parents to take responsibility; while this is the ideal it is not realistic and society has a responsibility to protect children too; (c) Censorship. We have a situation where pornography material is the default option in our homes and this is NOT ACCEPTED in any other form of media: television, films, high street hoardings and general print advertising, including lad and porn magazines, are all subject to regulation. The government hopes the ISP will regulate themselves, but they are reluctant to switch off pornography at source.  It is an industry worth billions of pounds and our young children are their potential customers. NCW therefore recommends to the government the simplest and most effective way to safeguard our children is to switch off pornography at source.

Submitted by: NCW Management Committee

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