Washington, DC (December 28, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) believes the French government is right to block online pornography sites for lax age verification.
According to the Daily Mail, the “French government has announced it will move to block five of the world’s major porn sites from tomorrow unless they introduce protective measures to ensure all users are aged 18 or over. Adult websites Pornhub, xHamster, XVideos, XNXX and Tukif were given until today to implement stricter age controls on users looking to access their content.”
“France is seeking to hold online pornography sites accountable in order to protect minors from accessing hardcore pornographic content that is harmful to them. France is to be commended for this courageous step towards confronting this inherently exploitative industry that has caused numerous public health harms,” said Dawn Hawkins, CEO of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation. “Despite empty assurances, online pornography sites have failed to keep children away from their content because they have no meaningful age verification systems, and in fact many of these sites employ marketing tactics that bring children to their sites. It is past time for pornography sites to be held to account.
“Billie Eilish recently spoke out about the harms she experienced from watching pornography beginning at age 11. A growing body of research supports her statements. Early exposure to pornography affects children’s developing brains and normalizes the sexual violence, exploitation and abuse it so frequently depicts. Today’s hyper-online world exposes youth to such content at younger and younger ages through platforms that may seem safe on the surface—including social media. It’s virtually impossible to avoid; one study found that 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to pornography in adolescence.
“Modern online pornography is filled with extreme sexual violence, child sexual abuse, racism, and other disturbing and abusive content. Online pornography platforms are designed to hook even casual viewers to seek even more violent and extreme content. We hear from families regularly that their children as young as 6 years old are accessing hardcore pornography despite their best efforts to protect them. The responsibility cannot lie with parents alone.
“Other nations must follow France’s example if they care about curing the growing public health harms their youth face because of exposure to pornography,” Hawkins added.
For more information on the harms of pornography, please visit: endsexualexploitation.org/research.