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Age Verification Is the Most Effective Way to Protect Children from Porn


Raised on Porn is now live! WATCH THE FILM HERE.

Millions of children are watching porn. With the average age of exposure hovering somewhere between 7 and 13, a typical middle-schooler has likely already seen porn. One study showed that ten percent of 12-year-olds think they’re already addicted.

Our team has received hundreds of stories from people around the world sharing how they were exposed to pornography as children and how porn use led them into depression, abuse, body dysmorphia, attempted suicide, prostitution, broken relationships, and sexual abuse/assault. Research strongly confirms these toxic implications of underage porn exposure.

Why is this happening? In short, because the internet is a free-for-all of porn. It’s not hidden behind a paywall. It’s not hidden on obscure sites. And it certainly doesn’t require any kind of real age verification. Porn is as mainstream as it gets on the internet.

Many adults who are not porn consumers are naive to not only how easy it is to access but also to how incredibly violent and dehumanizing modern porn has become.

But there is a powerful and very accessible solution.

In our campaign, Protect Children Not Porn, we have been advocating for required age verification, via a third-party technology, on all sites hosting pornographic content in order to put a stop to this catastrophe. Not surprisingly, this has caught the attention of porn performers and pro-porn advocates. 

But the truth is no parent can control every device a child may have access to the moment they leave the home, and that’s why age verification is the only across-the-board solution.

Many of them claim most sites require age verification, but let’s be clear on one thing: clicking a box on a porn site that says “I am over the age of 18” is NOT age verification. Any curious child can simply click the box and suddenly be faced with some of the most graphic sexual content imaginable. 

This is not a proper deterrent for minors trying to access pornographic content. It does not require any sort of verification or proof of age. Would checking a box suffice for someone trying to purchase alcohol? Of course not. 

RELATED: My Porn Addiction at Age 6 Drove Me to Attempt Suicide | #PornHurtMe

Age verification in any other instance requires proof of age using some form of ID. You must show ID to buy alcohol or tobacco, rent a car, and pick up prescriptions, even many dating apps require it. So why don’t we require it for pornography consumption? 

The truth is, many porn companies understand that a large portion of their viewership is from minors. Research from security technology company, Bitdefender, suggests that children under the age of 10 now account for 22% of underage online porn consumption, while 10-14 year-olds make up 36% of minor consumers. And porn companies make money off the web traffic regardless of the age of the site visitors.

Another common pushback to required age verification concerns the issue of privacy after uploading the ID to the third-party site. But such services are already in use to gamble or buy alcohol and tobacco online. So why is privacy a concern only when it comes to verifying the age of porn consumers? 

To that end, age verification systems are more secure than the porn sites users visit anyways. A 2019 study revealed that porn sites already track and share the private data of its users. Third-party age verification software does not store photo IDs. The photo is deleted once the consumer’s age has been verified. Access to their services is protected by strong encryption and information such as name, address, and birthdate are not shared with other third parties. 

As we have seen repeatedly, porn sites are vehemently opposed to verification and will not self-regulate unless an external force requires it. Instead of taking responsibility to protect kids from their content, porn websites throw responsibility solely on the parent. But even if parents were to place every possible restriction and safeguard on their child’s device, it wouldn’t be enough. Porn would still be accessible on their friends’ devices, or their classmates’, or their neighbors’. There are open portals to porn at every turn.

RELATED: #PornHurtMe and my 8-Year-Old Son

Let’s be honest: age verification is not an outlandish request. Many other countries are in the process of implementing government-mandated requirements on websites hosting pornographic content and the U.S. needs to do the same. These are straightforward standards that should be widely supported from all sides as childhood exposure to pornography has massive ramifications on the life of a child.

Age verification is the only protective measure that essentially cuts off open porn access at its source. Other measures simply fall short of the widespread protection that is desperately needed in a tech-saturated world. 

Many adults who are not porn consumers are naive to not only how easy it is to access but also to how incredibly violent and dehumanizing modern porn has become.

It’s true, however, that parental controls and filters can be helpful for proactive parents to implement in the home—Canopy or Covenant Eyes are great options. Although these may provide a layer of protection on a given device, they can only dodge or attempt to control the landmines that are already freely floating around throughout the internet.

But the truth is no parent can control every device a child may have access to the moment they leave the home, and that’s why age verification is the only across-the-board solution. Not to mention the fact that many children do not have parents who are mindful of the dangers and/or proactive about adding device filters.

In a podcast interview with Allie Beth Stuckey, Benjamin Nolot, CEO and founder of Exodus Cry summarized the issue this way: “The reality is, we live in a world in which pornography is trespassing into the lives of our children and disrupting their childhood, stealing their innocence. It is cultivating deviant appetites in the hearts of the consumers who eventually go out and seek to fulfill those and that results in the abuse of more children. So what we are talking about is a world that has become extremely dangerous for children and it is up to all of us to do our part to change that.” 

With your help, we can build a formidable movement that demands age verification and challenges the predatory porn giants that are harvesting the innocence of children everywhere.

1. Join 50k+ others by signing the petition demanding age verification, with ID, on every single porn site. Then share it.

2. Watch Raised on Porn, free on YouTube, then like, comment, and share it with 5 friends.

3. Give here. The more resources we have the more people we can reach with this film and campaign.

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