Children to be kept safe from Online Pornography.
One of the issues that I have campaigned and worked on in the past year has been the issue of Online Pornography and the impact it has been having on children and young people. I am delighted that the regulator has now published new draft guidance which will mean online porn sites have to implement extremely strict age verification regimes to prevent access for under 18 year olds.
This follows detailed amendments to the new Online Safety Bill which I helped secure approval for when the bill passed through parliament earlier this year. During this period I worked closely with the Children's Commissioner and previous Children's Ministers to secure the amendments. Crucially, the new law will also include pornography on social media sites as well as websites.
There is terrifying research by the Children's commissioner which shows that children are being exposed to online pornography at increasingly younger and younger ages, the pornography is also becoming increasingly more violent in nature. This normalises a view that violent sex is "OK", which is in turn leading to increasing sexual violence.
I led a discussion on this issue with women from all across the world when I attended the UN Convention on the Status of Women in New York this spring. It was deeply concerning that every woman present reported similar trends in their own countries. The UK legislation is world leading and I hope will be copied elsewhere.
I would particularly like to thank the six formers from one of Chelmsford's schools who asked me to prioritise time and efforts to focus on this issue and to Lord Bethall who worked tirelessly on this issue in the House of Lords. Keeping children safe from harm will always be one of my priorities.