New GEM Poll Finds Overwhelming Public Support for Age Limits on Porn Sites

A new ICM poll released today by the Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM) at Durham University  reveals that an overwhelming majority of the public (86%) agree that pornography websites and social media companies should be legally required to prevent children from accessing online pornography.

Research Briefing on the new poll available here: gem-age-verification-briefing-final

Press release available here: age-verif-poll-press-release-oct-2016-final

Poll supports need for age verification: The poll supports proposals in the Digital Economy Bill being discussed in Parliament today (Thursday) to introduce age-verification measures to ensure that anyone accessing a commercial pornography website in the UK is over the age of18.

The Centre for Gender Equal Media (GEM) at Durham University welcomes the Government’s proposals to prevent children’s access to online commercial pornography due to its adverse impacts on gender inequality and young people.

Dr Fiona Vera-Gray of Durham University and GEM Co-Founder says:

“From my experience working with young people in sexual violence prevention, pornography is repeatedly implicated in restricting young women’s sexual agency, and in pressuring young men to prove their masculinity. We need a comprehensive approach that includes new laws such as current government proposals, alongside compulsory, age-appropriate, sex and relationships education focussing on issues of equality, respect and consent.”

Poll supports blocking non-compliant websites

The poll also found considerable public support (78%) for Government action to ensure that the websites of non-compliant companies are blocked.

Professor Clare McGlynn of Durham University and GEM Co-Founder says:

‘If the Government wishes to restrict children’s access to pornography, the new law must be effective. Blocking non-compliant websites is one way to strengthen the proposals. This new law will, at the very least, limit accidental exposure. It will also send an important message that pornography is not appropriate material for children.’

The Centre for Gender Equal Media is making three key recommendations to tackle the harms of pornography :

  • More effective enforcement mechanisms are required, such as blocking websites that break the law
  • Preventing children’s access to pornography is only part of the solution. Compulsory, age-appropriate sex and relationships education on issues of equality, respect and consent is vital.
  • Action on pornography is placed within the wider context of gender inequality, including inequality for young people, and violence against women and girls.
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