Online porn: Labour call for curbs on offshore websites

Overseas websites which carry hardcore pornography should be forced to do more to protect children, Labour MP Helen Goodman says.

Goodman, who speaks for the Party on culture issues, made the comments in light of research showing the scale of the problem of children seeing pornography.

Earlier this year the online video watchdog said at least 200,000 under 16-year-olds saw internet porn in a single month in 2013.

Shocking

Goodman described the results as “deeply shocking”, and said: “Children have a right to be children”.

Labour is proposing that offshore websites which show hardcore pornography videos should obtain a licence and carry age restrictions.

The Government is reportedly growing in support for a licensing regime for foreign websites, but wants more time to consider the issue.

Protect

ATVOD – the Authority for Television on Demand – carried out the report on children’s access to pornography and it gave some backing for a licensing system.

Peter Johnson, chief executive of the group, said its study suggested support for a licensing system because “a licence could be withheld from any service which failed to protect children”.

The watchdog said that if banks and credit card companies were given “legal clarity” on the issue, “ideally through a licensing regime, they would act to prevent payments flowing to such services”.

“It was identified by the payments industry as being the best way of providing the certainty that is currently lacking in UK law and would enable them to act to prevent payments flowing to foreign services which allow UK children to view hardcore pornography.”

Warp

The ATVOD report found that one in twenty UK visitors to adult websites during December 2013 was under 18.

However, it said the scale of the problem is likely to be even bigger.

Earlier this month teenage TV star Tyger Drew-Honey said porn is warping this generation’s view on sex.

Drew-Honey, who found fame through the Outnumbered sitcom, criticised the easy access young people have to porn and said: “It feels like this generation is an accident waiting to happen”.

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