July 2020 is proving an amazing month for TRF, with two major international projects coming to fruition. We are supporting the push for age verification legislation for pornography in the UK and around the world with our Age Verification Conference Report. At the same time, we are contributing many elements to the global debate on pornography through participation in the 2020 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Summit.
The Reward Foundation are taking part in the 2020 Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation Online Global Summit between 18 and 28 July. We are providing three talks: Internet Pornography and the Adolescent Brain; Internet Pornography and Users with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and Special Learning Needs; and A Roadmap for Future Research into Problematic Pornography Use. With 177 speakers and over 18,000 attendees from more than 100 countries, it is the largest event ever in this field.
The good news is that the conference is FREE to attend. If this captures your interest, click here to register today and join us for this amazing experience.
Internet Pornography and the Adolescent Brain
Mary Sharpe is a featured conference speaker in the biggest discussion of the day on 27 July.
The Reward Foundation are running an Exhibitor Stand at this conference, with a competition to win one of five copies of Gary Wilson’s book – Your Brain on Porn.
Age Verification for Pornography
In June 2020, The Reward Foundation co-organised a virtual conference with John Carr, OBE, Secretary to the UK’s Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety. The subject was the need for age verification legislation for pornography. The event included child welfare advocates, lawyers, academics, government officials, neuroscientists and technology companies from twenty-nine countries. Here is the published final report.
The conference reviewed:
- The latest evidence from the field of neuroscience showing the effects of substantial exposure to pornography on the adolescent brain
- Accounts from over twenty countries about how public policy is developing in respect of online age verification for pornography web sites
- Different technologies now available to carry out age verification in real time
- Educational strategies for protecting children to complement the technical solutions
Children have a right to protection from harm and states have a legal obligation to provide it. More than that, children have a legal right to good advice and to comprehensive, age appropriate education on sex and the part it can play in healthy, happy relationships. This is best provided in the context of a public health and education framework. Children do not have a legal right to porn.
Age verification technology has advanced to the point where scalable, affordable systems exist which can restrict access by under 18s to online porn sites. It does this while at the same time respecting the privacy rights of both adults and children.
Age verification is not a silver bullet, but it is certainly a bullet. And it’s a bullet aimed directly at denying the online pornography peddlers of this world any role in determining the sexual socialization or sexual education of the young.
Government under pressure following a decision of the High Court
The only matter of regret in the UK at the moment is we still have no idea exactly when the age verification measures agreed by Parliament in 2017 will take effect although last week’s decision in the High Court might be moving us forward.
Says John Carr, OBE, “In the UK, I have called on the Information Commissioner to initiate an investigation with a view to securing the earliest possible introduction of age verification technologies, to safeguard the mental health and well-being of our children. Across the globe, colleagues, scientists, policy makers, charities, lawyers and people who care about child protection are doing likewise as this conference report amply demonstrates. The time to act is now.”