#Public Sector

Tories will enforce strict age-checking on pornographic websites if re-elected

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Pornographic websites will face a ban if they fail to implement strict age-restriction controls under a future Conservative government, Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, has announced.

The Culture Secretary said that if the Tories remains in power after the general election then the party would ensure that under-18s are not allowed access to online pornographic and adult content. The announcement follows a recent Childline poll which found nearly one in 10 12-13 year olds were worried they were addicted and that 18 per cent have seen pornographic images that have shocked or upset them.

Under the Tory proposals, pornographic websites would be made to ensure that they use effective age- checks and that the check should go significantly further than simply requiring someone to put in their date of birth.

Javed 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.

“That is why we need effective controls online that apply to UK and overseas.

“This is about giving children the best start in life; 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.”

As per the proposal, an independent regulator will be established to oversee pornographic websites to ensure the controls are in place and the same body will be bestowed with powers to compel internet service providers (ISPs) to block sites which failed to implement the controls. In fact ISPs could face penalty if they did not co-operate.

Experts have welcomed the move- targeted at UK-based as well as overseas websites- but warned it would be difficult to implement.

NSPCC chief Peter Wanless said “The easy availability to children of online pornography, much of it extreme, violent and profoundly degrading, is of deepening concern.

“It can leave them feeling frightened, confused, depressed or upset. The number of ChildLine counselling sessions regarding porn more than doubled last year to over 1,100 with some young girls revealing they were being pressured to mimic scenes from adult films.

“Any action that makes it more difficult for young people to find this material is to be welcomed. The key will be making any system work effectively as we know foreign outlets are recklessly flooding the market with films that can be viewed by anyone without any age checks in place.”