In an era where children are routinely exposed to pornography online, it’s heartening to see policymakers taking concrete steps to protect our youngest generation from the potential harms that lurk online.

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Peter Dutton’s commitment today to launching a trial for age verification to safeguard children from pornography is a step in the right direction, and Family First wholeheartedly welcomes this initiative.

The internet has undoubtedly transformed our lives in countless positive ways, but it has also opened new challenges and dangers, especially for children.

Dutton’s commitment to age verification is a proactive approach to addressing one of the most concerning issues facing parents today. The trial aims to verify the age of individuals accessing pornographic websites, thereby preventing minors from stumbling upon explicit content accidentally.

This measure aligns with Family First’s core values of prioritizing the safety and well-being of children.

It shows the Liberals have moved a long way from when they opposed Rudd Government Communications Minister Stephen Conroy’s attempts to protect children on-line using proven Internet Service Provider filtering.

The trial was a recommendation of the E-Safety Commissioner but sadly the Albanese Government has chosen to ignore it, preferring to leave pornography regulation in the hands of the porn trade.

 

The Unlucky Country - Zimmermann & Moens

Pornography’s harms are well-documented, including in this recent article in the left-wing Guardian newspaper which reveals children as young as six are being exposed to it on-line. This is not a left versus right issue. The American College of Paediatricians says

The availability and use of pornography has become almost ubiquitous among adults and adolescents.  Consumption of pornography is associated with many negative emotional, psychological, and physical health outcomes.  These include increased rates of depression, anxiety, acting out and violent behaviour, younger age of sexual debut, sexual promiscuity, increased risk of teen pregnancy, and a distorted view of relationships between men and women.  For adults, pornography results in an increased likelihood of divorce which is also harmful to children.

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Lyle Shelton is National Director of the Family First Party. He started his career as a rural journalist before being elected as a member of the Toowoomba City Council and serving the Australian Christian Lobby for 10 years, half of that decade as ACL's Managing Director. He was a Director and spokesman for the Coalition for Marriage during the 2017 postal survey campaign which resulted in the legal undefinition of marriage. He also blogs here.

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