Web porn filters could harm gay youths, says charity

web-porn-filters-could-harm-gay-youths-says-charity
Simon Blake, from the charity Brook, accepts that more young people are accessing pornography, but questions whether society should be concerned.

Fri, 23 Aug 2013

Default blocks on internet pornography may stop gay youths accessing information, the head of a leading sexual health charity for young people says.

Simon Blake, the chief executive of Brook, says he is “concerned” about the Prime Minister’s plan to introduce a default block on internet porn.

Writing for Pink News, he said he knows of one gay man who, as a youngster, found gay porn “something of a comfort”.

Fantasy

He said that “pornography may be, for some, one of the first places they see their sexuality represented positively or that they learn about same-sex relationships.”

He accepts that more young people are accessing pornography, but questions whether society should be concerned.

He says most young people visiting Brook’s services “can tell the difference between fantasy and reality”.

‘Censorship’?

Some people, he added, may regard the default filtering of adult material to be “creeping censorship”.

“I reserve judgement at this stage. The devil is in the detail. But I am concerned”, he added.

He says pornography is not the best place for children to learn about sex, and he favours better sex education in schools.

Wrong

But he is worried that default filters may inadvertently block sexual health education websites.

He said: “We need to involve young people in this debate; we need to listen to their voices – especially the voices of LGBT young people who could be disproportionately affected by relevant and useful information being restricted if we get this wrong.”

Last month the Prime Minister promised to make sure pornography will be automatically blocked on new broadband internet accounts – with the option to remove the filter.

Decide

He also pledged action for existing users, saying the main internet providers will contact customers with an “unavoidable decision about whether or not to install family friendly content filters”.

This would happen by the end of next year, Mr Cameron added, saying, “there will be no escaping the decision, no ‘remind me later’”.

He also said that for new broadband accounts the main internet companies – TalkTalk, Virgin, Sky and BT – have made sure that filters will work across all connected devices, such as tablet computers.

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