News by email Donate


Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

World News

Christian charity backs criticism that online safety bill needs tightening

by Sophie Drew
Child-kid-computer-laptop-thumb_galleryfull.jpg - Banner image

A report from a group of MPs has found that proposals for the Online Safety Bill don't go far enough in protecting children and young people from pornography and highly-explicit content. 
Whilst some argue that further restrictions would inhibit people's freedom of expression, many are deeply concerned about what young people may be witnessing online. 
The NSPCC found that 48 per cent of 11-16 year olds surveyed had seen pornography online, and according to CARE - a Christian charity - some viewers are younger than 7-years-old. 
Further research found that 62 per cent of 11-13-year-olds had first stumbled upon pornography unintentionally. 
Although this issue does not exclusively effect people of faith, James and the CARE team are adamant that Christians are called to tackle this issue head-on. 
James Mildred, from CARE - a Christian organisation - told Premier why we should be so invested in the issue.
He said: "Jesus reserved some of his strongest words of condemnation for anyone who stands in the way of little children, for anyone who treats them wrongly or badly or in justly or cruelly. It's ultimately about protecting vulnerable people, it's recognising that the internet currently operates a bit like the Wild West."
In 2019, the government sought to bring in legislation that would place age restrictions on explicit content. The move was abandoned in favour of the Online Safety Bill, which has now been criticised for being too lapse. 
The report found that legal loopholes would mean a significant amount of explicit content would still make it through the cracks, particularly that which portrays violent behaviour towards women and girls. 
He said: "CARE has been arguing is that number one, the Online Safety Bill needs to address all pornographic content - not just user generated pornographic content which the bill is seeking to tackle. 
"Secondly, we need to see age verification implemented. Now it's not some silver bullet, it's not going to completely solve the problem of young people finding pornography online. What it will primarily do is it will dramatically reduce the number of children who are stumbling across porn accidentally, for example.
"The government, through the Online Safety Bill is wanting to tackle content that is legal but harmful, and that is very, very difficult to define accurately, and that does raise legitimate freedom of expression concerns.
"This is all about finding the right balance, because while there should absolutely be freedom of expression online, at the same time we have a problem - we have evidence that tells us young people are stumbling across some of the worst kinds of images. 
 "So in that context, the right to freedom of expression needs to be balanced with measures to tackle online porn, for example."

A Monthly Gift Of $11 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the USA is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of $11 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Support Us
Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

News by email