Tories pledge age limit for porn sites

Picture: Michael Gillen

Picture: Michael Gillen

Share this article
7
Have your say

HARDCORE pornography websites would be forced to put in place age-restriction controls or face being shut down if the Conservatives are returned to power at the general election.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said the party would act to ensure under-18s were locked out of adult content after a recent ChildLine poll found nearly one in ten 12 and 13-year-olds are worried they are addicted, and 18 per cent have seen shocking or upsetting images.

As a father to four young children, I worry, like every other parent, how easy it is for them to view explicit material

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid

Experts welcomed the move – targeted at UK-based and overseas websites – but warned it would take a lot of work to implement in practice.

Under the Tory proposals the system would be overseen by an independent regulator with the power to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block sites that failed to include effective age verification with the threat of fines.

Javid said: “If you want to buy a hardcore pornography DVD in a store you need to prove your age to the retailers. With the shift to online, children can access adult content on websites without restriction, intentionally or otherwise.

“As a father to four young children, I worry, like every other parent, how easy it is for them to view explicit ­material.”

He added: “We do not want to prevent adults from accessing legal content but we do want to protect our children from harmful material so they are free to develop a healthy attitude to sex and relationships.”

Javid said the “cultural side” of some communities should be looked at in a bid to see why there are men who have a “completely unacceptable” view of women. He asked why there are men in modern British society who have “such a low value of women that they see them as commodities to be abused”.

“We have to look at the cultural aspects of it, and we can no longer be held back by political correctness,” he said.

“I know plenty of people, British Muslims, men and women, who would 100 per cent agree with that, not only out of a sense of shame but also because of the fear of what else might be going on. Some of the values that certain people in some communities have are just totally unacceptable in British society.”

Mother’s Union chief executive Reg Bailey, who was commissioned by Prime Minister David Cameron to investigate the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, said the plans were “a really welcome development”.

Sarah Green, acting director of the End Violence Against Women Coalition, said: “We warmly welcome proposals to better regulate access to online pornography by young people.”

FOLLOW US

Twitter | Facebook | Google+

Subscribe to our DAILY NEWSLETTER (requires registration)

SCOTSMAN TABLET AND MOBILE APPS

iPhone | iPad | Android | Kindle

Back to the top of the page