July 15 is the date set by the UK for age-verification to be implemented on all pornography websites in the UK - eChildhood wants Australia to be next, will you help us get there?
Essentially, age-verification means that children under the age of 18 will no longer be able to readily access commercial porn sites in the UK. This includes incredibly violent, graphic and degrading sexual content. eChildhood has written extensively about this topic in the past, including debunking some of the myths of AV and how UK kids will win with this measure being implemented.
The question is, will Australia follow suit? As we press towards an election, what do those at the helm (or potentially at the helm) of our nation's leadership say? Do our politicians know that this is one of the most pressing child protection issues of our time? Are they aware that children accessing pornography is linked to a host of issues including increased mental health vulnerabilities, child-on-child and peer-on-peer sexual abuse, increasing rates of sexual violence, compulsive and addictive behaviours, problematic sexualised behaviours, increase vulnerability for our children in schools and online, increased rates of sexual harassment (including pressure to create and distribute child sexual exploitation material), body image issues, anxiety plus more? And if they don't know (or if they do), are they prepared to step up and do something about it - implement AV?
Legally, the government has an obligation to act. Deputy Chair, Liz Walker, is quoted in this legal journal article as saying "The lack of action by governing bodies and ISPs to respond to children accessing adult pornography draws parallels to the once-ignored but ‘now important’ Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The reports of children negatively impacted by pornography flood in, yet its harms are often overlooked and underplayed. Children are exploiting other children and childhood sexual exploitation has reached new peaks and without targeted strategies, this trend is unlikely to reverse."
What will it take for our leaders to take action on what is essentially, child sexual abuse via digital images? Your voice can make a huge difference so that we don’t have another Royal Commission in 5 or 10 years time with victims wanting to know why our leaders did not act, even though the harms were clearly evident?
eChildhood is asking you and the people of Australia to get behind our kids and make sure our leaders use their power to keep kids in Australia safe. To assist, we've put together some simple tools on our 2019 Federal Election Action Page to help you contact your MP and ensure our kids' safety is on their agenda. Together we can call on our political leaders to commit to the implementation of age-verification to protect children in Australia from online pornography.
eChildhood has also developed a complete FAQs page to assist with understanding why implementing age-verification is so incredibly important to protect children of Australia. Will you be the voice that the children of Australia so desperately need you to be? We believe they deserve the same robust child protection measures as children in the UK. Let's see this issue put front and center so that our political candidates act.