Children are just one click away from accessing or being accidentally exposed to pornography online.
Australian research shows that 69% of boys and 23% of girls first viewed pornography at age 13 or younger. Exposure at this young age can have extensive negative impacts on the child.
A parliamentary committee submitted a report in February 2020 titled Protecting the age of innocence. It said age verification technology could provide a barrier to prevent children from accessing age-restricted content and provided six recommendations. Notably, it added,
“The Committee is concerned to see this issue addressed as quickly as possible. As such, the Committee recommends that this work be completed and presented to government for decision within 12 months of the presentation of this report.”
Over three years have passed and the report’s recommendations have not been implemented.
Dear Prime Minister,
Age verification technology is available and already in use to prevent Australian children from accessing gambling sites. There is an urgent need to apply this to protect our children from accidentally accessing online pornography, and from being targeted by predators online. Other nations have taken action on this front. Australia has the opportunity to join them as world leaders in protecting children. It is within our reach to be the safest place in the world to raise children.
Please implement the six recommendations outlined in Protecting the age of innocence report submitted in February 2020 by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. Please note Recommendation 3 in particular:
3.184 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government direct and adequately resource the eSafety Commissioner to expeditiously develop and publish a roadmap for the implementation of a regime of mandatory age verification for online pornographic material, setting out:
- a. a suitable legislative and regulatory framework;
- b. a program of consultation with community, industry, and government stakeholders;
- c. activities for awareness raising and education for the public; and
- d. recommendations for complementary measures to ensure that age verification is part of a broader, holistic approach to address risks and harms associated with the exposure of children and young people to online pornography.
No action has been taken to implement age verification despite the Committee calling for this to be done quickly to prevent children from exposure to harmful content.
Please take action to protect Australian children from online pornography!