STATEMENT – Utah Passes Critical Solution to Protect Kids from Pornography on Smartphones and Tablets

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Washington, DC (March 5, 2021) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) applauds Utah’s passage of the Device Filter Amendments (HB 72), that requires manufacturers of smartphones and tablets activated in the state of Utah to enable existing filters that block out sexually explicit material that is “harmful to minors” under Utah law.

“Utah has passed a critical, common sense solution to help protect vulnerable children from accessing harmful pornographic content on phones and tablets,” said Dawn Hawkins, senior vice president and executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

Currently, virtually all devices have filters, but they are turned to OFF when sold. This bill simply requires the filters to be turned ON when activated in Utah. Adults are not prohibited from accessing such material and are given a PIN to remove the filter for their own use if they choose to do so. Children will not receive PINs to deactivate the filters.

“This ensures that the devices are effective for protecting minors while being unrestrictive on adults. While these filters are already available on most devices now, on an Apple device, for example, it takes 20+ complicated steps to turn them on, leaving most parents helpless to protect their kids online,” Hawkins explained.

“There are countless heartbreaking stories of the harm caused by children’s unhindered access to Internet devices—including the individual and familial trauma of pornography exposure and addiction and adult predators targeting and grooming kids online. We commend the Utah legislature for passing this bill that will aid parents in protecting their children from unwanted exposure to pornography.” Hawkins added.

The bill will now go to the Utah governor for signature.

About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.

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The Numbers

300+

NCOSE leads the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation with over 300 member organizations.

100+

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation has had over 100 policy victories since 2010. Each victory promotes human dignity above exploitation.

93

NCOSE’s activism campaigns and victories have made headlines around the globe. Averaging 93 mentions per week by media outlets and shows such as Today, CNN, The New York Times, BBC News, USA Today, Fox News and more.

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