Implementing the Online Safety Act: Protecting children from online pornography
Children are set to be protected from accessing online pornography under new age-check guidance proposed by Ofcom today to help services to comply with online safety laws.
- Ofcom sets out guidance on highly effective age checks to stop children accessing online porn services
- Methods could include photo ID matching, facial age estimation and credit card checks
- Services must take care to safeguard users’ privacy and adults' rights to access legal pornography
Latest research shows that the average age at which children first see online pornography is 13 – although nearly a quarter come across it by age 11 (27%), and one in ten as young as 9 (10%). Additionally, nearly 8 in 10 youngsters (79%) have encountered violent pornography depicting coercive, degrading or pain-inducing sex acts before turning 18.
Under the Online Safety Act, sites and apps that display or publish pornographic content must ensure that children are not normally able to encounter pornography on their service.
To do this, they must introduce 'age assurance' – through age verification, age estimation or a combination of both – which is ‘highly effective’ at correctly determining whether a user is a child or not. Effective access controls should prevent children from encountering pornographic content on that service.
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