WASHINGTON, DC (February 22, 2022) – In a brief submitted to the Senate of Canada, the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation (ICOSE) called on the Canadian Parliament to pass Bill S-210 that would restrict children’s access to sexually explicit material.
“The public health harms to children and society from exposure to pornography are real and detrimental, and as such, more needs to be done to protect the most vulnerable members from easily accessing pornography,” said Haley McNamara, director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation, and VP of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Scientific research has proven that pornography poses serious and extensive harms to children’s mental, social, and sexual health. Online pornography routinely includes child sexual abuse, rape, sexual violence, racism, and non-consensual sexual content.”
“This bill would tighten age verification methods for pornography websites – a key element to shield children from pornography. Age verification technology has been proven to generate accurate results in other industries, such as online gambling,” said Lily Moric, International Advocacy Associate at ICOSE and a native Canadian. “Further, current age verification methods are adept at safeguarding personal privacy. Pornography websites need not have access to any personal information, save for the single attribute that a user is over 18. This makes consumer age verification a commonsense solution to protect children.”
“This bill would only regulate commercial pornography websites – a great first step – but we hope that the Parliament will take further steps to require that search engines and social media platforms default to safety for minors, in order to reduce both childhood pornography exposure and online grooming,” Moric concluded.