Australia’s e-safety Commissioner has encouraged us to celebrate ‘Safer Internet Day’ despite Australian children remaining without recommended protections from online pornography in place.
National Director of Politics for the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and long-time campaigner for the innocence of children, Wendy Francis, said, “Numerous inquiries and committee recommendations have urged action by the government to introduce mandatory age verification measures to protect Australian children from pornography. The most recent of these include the 2020 parliamentary report Protecting the age of innocence and the 2023 Government response to the Roadmap for Age Verification. The evidence is clear that exposure to online pornography is associated with terrible harms to young people’s health, education, relationships, and wellbeing.
“Despite the UK and other European nations introducing age verification legislation, Australians are being told that we don’t currently have the technology to support mandatory age verification. This seems inconsistent when we already have age verification technology which creates a significant barrier to prevent children from accessing gambling sites.
“Parents who are deeply concerned about the extent to which their children are exposed to harmful content on the internet and who are calling for urgent action find themselves in opposition to adults who believe it is more important to preserve the anonymity of porn users than to protect children’s innocence. This is deeply concerning and shameful.”
On this ‘Safer Internet Day 2024’ the ACL calls on the government to move quickly to pass legislation that will prioritise child safety through age-verification measures.