The UK has decided to increase age verification efforts in the country for pornography websites and is expected to implement the process through legal methods on Monday. The idea is to restrict anyone who is not over the legal age from viewing adult content online. Any site that fails to comply with the new highly-secured age verification system may face being banned.
As per NSPCC, over 1 million children are estimated to view porn online through free websites. The charity organization further suggested the idea that children develop a bizarre outlook towards relationships with their friends and family members due to such inappropriate content. So, the aim is to stop them from fantasizing something that is not meant for their immature minds.
To further improve online security, the UK government is also reported to nominate a regulatory division for monitoring such activities. It is likely that the British Board of Film and Classification, which is known to set age limits for computer games, DVDs, and films, is going to add age verification for pornography websites to its list as well. Digital Minister Matt Hancock has also shown his concern of the issue dealing with such unsecured websites.
“We are taking the next step to put in place the legal requirement for websites with adult content to ensure it is safely behind an age-verification control. All this means that while we can enjoy the freedom of the web, the UK will have the most robust internet child protection measures of any country in the world.”
To step up the age verification process for pornography websites, the UK government may ask website owners to verify a user’s age through a credit card verification as such cards are only provided to people who are 18 and above. A similar system has already been implemented by gambling websites for years.
If the porn website is not ready to apply the new system to their website, then it is possible that the appointed regulator may block their website. To appoint a regulator, Digital Minister Hancock is expected to create a formal statement and present it to the House of Commons. Furthermore, the Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport has also asked for all porn websites to apply for the new age verification program by April 2018.
Childnet‘s chief executive of internet safety Will Gardner has also shown his interest in the matter by making a statement on the issue.
“Protecting children from exposure, including accidental exposure, to adult content is incredibly important, given the effect it can have on young people. Steps like this to help restrict access, alongside the provision of free parental controls and education, are key. It is essential to help parents and carers, as well as young people, be more aware of this risk and what they can do to prevent exposure and also to make sense of exposure if it happens.”
According to a report last year by the NSPCC, children are more prone to check out such explicit websites when they are able to access them without any restrictions. The organization further noted in its report that online pornography risks a child’s development with 65 percent damage reported in 15- to 16-year-olds and 48 percent in 11- to 16-year-olds.
The organization’s study also deduced that about 28 percent of children have been noted to stumble upon pornography websites accidentally, while 19 percent searched for such sites intentionally.
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