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Christian Charity urges government to amend online safety bill

by Alex Collett

A Christian Charity has urged the government to amend its online safety proposals to ensure that children have the best possible protection from pornography.

CARE, which has campaigned for laws to stop kids accessing porn for many years, is concerned that the legislation - as it stands - falls short.

The Charity says that there are many amendments that need to be made to the Bill, such as the issue of age verification measures.

Tim Cairns, from the Charity Care told Premier: "Last year, they put out a draft Bill, which didn't cover all pornography websites and they've amended the new Bill, which is being debated today in a second reading to cover all pornography sites. 

"So that's welcome, but I think there are a few issues that still need to be ironed out. 

"I think the first thing is really about clarity, so what standards are age verification measures going to be? 

"What standard do pornographic websites need to meet? In order to ensure the proper age verification is in place?

"It's not going be good enough for a pornographic website to have a tick box, that sort of self-selecting.

For example, 'are you over 18? Tick this box' - 'yes, I am'. 

"That's not going to do any good at all. 

"So the Bill doesn't actually contend with what the standards are, that are required for pornographic websites to meet the requirements of the bill for age assurance, or age verification."

"The government has a moral duty to do this and is doubly expected to do so given its broken promise to usher in age checks in 2017. 

"Ministers can’t afford to let children down for a second time.

"I think the Bill also needs to include powers, for internet service providers, to be forced to block those websites from actually being able to be accessed in the UK.

So it's things like that that will bring more clarity, more consistency."

Tim urges people to pray for the protection of young people for today, he said: "I think we need to be praying for the youth of our country.

"This really is the Wild West of an online world.

"I think we really need to pray for our teenagers, pray for that they won't be exposed to these things, pray for parents to have wisdom and how they guide and work with our teenagers and explain to them the dangers of what lurks online."

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