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'Something for Christians to celebrate': UK Gov looks to block child access to pornography websites

by Marcus Jones
Pornography-laptop-typing-computer_galleryfull.jpg - Banner image

The UK Government has announced new laws which will mean websites that publish pornography will be legally required to prevent children accessing them.

The age verification measures will be implemented as part of the Online Safety Bill which will mean sites will have to put "robust checks" in place to make sure only those over the age of 18 can view them.

This will mean a user needs to provide a credit card or another service which confirms someone's age via official records

Announcing the plans, digital minister Chris Philp said: "It is too easy for children to access pornography online. Parents deserve peace of mind that their children are protected online from seeing things no child should see.

"We are now strengthening the Online Safety Bill so it applies to all porn sites to ensure we achieve our aim of making the internet a safer place for children."

The change in law has been something Premier, the owner of this news site has been campaigning for, for many years.

Welcoming the news, Premier's CEO Peter Kerridge said: "I am delighted that the Digital Minister has today committed to extend the Online Safety Bill to include a new legal duty requiring mandatory age verification measures for pornography websites to ensure their users are 18 years or older. 
 
"It shows that our campaign: Safety Net: Help Protect our Kids from Porn is working. Our voice is being heard and our supporters' letters and e-mails to MPs are already making an impact.
 
"However, we need to keep the pressure up to make sure that the measures are robust and that they are enforced as soon as possible. We need one last push to demonstrate how important this issue is to us as Christians. I would urge everyone to go to our website: www.safetynet.org.uk and sign up to our campaign if they haven't already."

Websites that don't follow the new rules could be given fines of up to 10 per cent of their annual income or could face having their site blocked in the UK.

While the Bill has been introduced, it will still need to clear through the House of Commons and House of Lords. As long as enough time is given, its hoped that will pass comfortably as Labour has already indicated its support.

Christian charity CARE has been camopaigning on the issue too.

Speaking to Premier, its chief communications officer James Mildred said: "It's fantastic news and now the hard work begins of making sure that MPs and members of the House of Lords approve a verification, and then making sure that it is properly implemented. And if it does happen, the UK can rightly claim again, that it is a world leader when it comes to protecting children online.

"This is something that as Christians, we can really celebrate and give God thanks for. I do think that the journey we've been on at CARE in pushing and campaigning for age verification on all pornographic websites is a valuable lesson for all of us who want to see positive change."

The announcement was made on Internet Safety Day, a day dedicated to helping create a safer environment for children online.

Speaking to Premier Kate Duroux from Christian charity Care for the Family, called on all parents and guardians to use the day to think about their role in this.

She said: "I think we do have a really important role to play as role models in terms of how we use our technology. It's no point shouting at our kids to get off their iPads, if we're looking at our phone as we say that. 

"I think it raises some challenging questions, we need to think about how we use the internet and technology and how we're demonstrating that to our kids...we need to be good role models. [In our family] we also ask whether Granny would like what we were sharing."

Tips on how to keep your child safe online can be found here.
 

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