Various newspaper reports state that today David Cameron is going to make a keynote speech with regards to pornography and it will mean that people will have to actively opt-in to porn if they want to watch. The Prime Minister believes this will clean up the internet and protect children. At what point do we call David Cameron ‘Helen Lovejoy’ or ‘Maude Flanders’?
“We are taking action to help clean up the internet. One click to protect your home and keep your children safe.” the Prime Minister will state. However I have a small problem with this. What if a family has opted in to watch porn and a child still has access to it? What will the PM do then? He hasn’t protected children of those who watch porn, all he has done is make it more culturally unacceptable to watch pornography.
People equate pornography to being a pervert. That isn’t the case. Lots of different people watch porn. I know pensioners who watch porn. I know men and women who watch porn. I know young people who love porn and I know middle aged people who enjoy porn. I know single people who watch porn. I know couples who watch porn. I know straight people who watch porn. I know of gay people who watch porn. I know of bisexual people who watch porn. Basically porn is pretty mainstream and despite its social taboo a large percentage of people indulge in pornography. I would say more adults enjoy porn of a semi-regular basis than voted for the Conservative Party at the last General Election.
The issue I have is clearly what happens to those who opt-in? Is this data kept and who has access to this data? Will police use this data to profile people who live locally to a sexual crime and these people all suddenly become suspects? Will this data be public? Will angry mobs start circling the houses of those who watch porn? There are some (I feel) legitimate questions here.
The government has many important things to do. Censoring the internet is not one of them. Parents have a role in how they bring up their offspring and the government of the day should not overstep these boundaries. If a parent doesn’t actively stop their kids watching pornography then that is up to the parents. It isn’t the role of government to bring up kids.
As for online filters…this very blog is (or has been) blocked by TalkTalk for an age because of pornographic content. There is no pornographic content on this blog but TalkTalk says there is. I have heard of newspaper websites such as The Guardian being blocked over pornography. At what point does the government think enough censorship is enough? At what point do we say that kids welfare is actually the primary aim of parents and not the government?
Parents should know what their children are doing online in their own home. Parents can set up filters and block out content already. If a parent doesn’t want their child to be watching porn they can stop it. It doesn’t need wholesale changes to the internet to do this. So why is the PM desperate to push this through? Maybe because he is pandering to ‘Middle England’ and the Daily Mail in an attempt to show he can get big laws through that go against the EU. Maybe he actually thinks internet censorship is a good thing. Either way he’s wrong.
As long as what adults do isn’t against the law then why should they be censored? If this is truly about children then far more important to keep these sites and videos away by using already set up parental filters. Also educating young people about sex and violence and how to deal with feelings and urges is something that we as a nation generally fail at. Sex is a taboo and until we as a nation embrace it and teach young people frankly and openly about it all then we are fighting a losing battle.
Education is what is needed, not draconian measures that aim to record all those who choose to watch porn. There are distinct difference between all porn (which is legal) and already illegal child porn and rape porn. Lumping them all under one umbrella first of all isn’t right and secondly does nothing to actually help. Young people need better education. Education, Education, Education Tony Blair used to bang on about and in this instance that motto rings true. People, young people, will always find a way to watch porn but the more ‘dirty’ you make it then the more young people will strive to enjoy it as it’ll be ‘wrong’ and if I know one thing about young people is the more you tell them something is bad without any further education on the subject then the more they’ll attempt to do it.
The Prime Minister has got this all wrong and I hope the Lib Dems as a party step up and fight this although my faith in the leadership is at this point lacking but I still can hope. I can still have that…right?
Oh and lastly. Internet pornography bad but Page 3 is a ‘consumer choice’? That really doesn’t make any sense…
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