To shape policy, eChildhood puts forward submissions to issues affecting children and youth online safety and wellbeing. Our submissions include:
- November 8, 2019: Inquiry into Age Verification for online wagering and online pornography. Our comprehensive submission argued that a key component underpinning the success of a safer online digital environment for children is the implementation of an Age Verification regime within robust updated legislation underpinned by safety, security and privacy. eChildhood recommended that good government policy include the implementation of such a system, no matter where content is hosted, to restrict minors’ access to all commercial porn websites.
- August 1, 2018: Reviews of the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 and the Online Content Scheme. Our submission did not support the Online Content Scheme as we felt the scheme was not robust enough. eChildhood recommended that the Online Safety Scheme be completely reworked to reflect the same process the UK is currently implementing with Age Verification measures. Under the Digital Economy Act, 2017, all content classified as prohibited must be placed behind an Age Verification gateway. In addition to shifting the bulk of the responsibility to the porn industry through Age Verification measures that focus on child safety and public health, an ‘all-encompassing’ digital legislation considers a broad range of factors such as the overhaul of telecoms infrastructure and regulation, internet speeds, copyright issues, privacy and data. Relying on parents and the general public to protect children via filtering is leaving children vulnerable, for all reasons stated throughout our submission. Therefore, we need an updated and ‘all-encompassing’ legislation to implement Digital Child Protection Buffers so that no matter where kids go, access to hardcore pornography and other harmful content is restricted as much as possible.
- May 23, 2018: Australian Human Rights Commission Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). We presented solid arguments as to why children and young people have a right to be protected from hardcore pornography and provided with health education resources to combat its negative effects and how it's contributing to a range of significant harms including mental health, physical and emotional developmental impacts.
- June 8, 2018: Queensland Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce. We presented solid arguments as to why children have a right to be protected from hardcore pornography and how it is contributing to a range of significant harms, including Online Sexual Abuse, a subset of cyberbullying.
- July 17, 2018: Inquiry on International Internet Policy Priorities (with US-based NTIA - National Telecommunications and Information Administration). We commented on the U.S. Government's international internet policies and priorities, and the importance of implementing policy that ensures the prevention of access by minors to online hardcore pornography.
- August 1, 2018: Reviews of the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 and the Online Content Scheme. This submission by eChildhood is underpinned by 4 main points. First, it is the view of eChildhood that the current responses of the eSafety Commissioner are limited by legislation that is outdated, convoluted and requires extensive overhaul in order to enable effective digital protection of children from hardcore pornography. Second, the harms of pornography on children and young people are extensively supported by research. Third, a Child’s Rights approach must be adopted for this issue. Finally, pornography is a social problem and hence cannot be simply addressed by focusing on an individual level.