Younger folks say grownup content material legal guidelines want a re-think
LONDON, May 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The age verification laws coming into effect as part of the UK’s new Online Safety legislation have the good intention of keeping kids safe from adult material… but will they work?
A new survey from YouthSight, which interviewed 16-25 years old on how they interact with adult content, should distress UK lawmakers:
- 71% of young people who would be blocked in the UK, use a VPN service or know how to use one
- If porn is restricted for them, what would they do? 41% say they would use a VPN in that case
The same survey finds that the new age verification laws will have to target social media if they’re going to work at all. That’s because:
- 33% of kids’ first exposure to porn comes from social media (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram)
- 31% comes from another mainstream platform (Google Images, YouTube)
Currently, these sites are included in the UK age verification law but there’s growing speculation that Twitter and other tech platforms will be able to carve their way out of the law.
The findings come as UK adults declare their unhappiness with the proposal. In a separate YouGov survey, nearly 4 in 5 UK adults said they would not be comfortable uploading their ID to access adult content, citing privacy reasons. 64% ‘don’t trust the companies that would keep the data, while 63% fear the information getting in the wrong hands.
Many remember prominent leaks, like the AshleyMadison case, and fear the same happening on a larger scale.
Furthermore, 76% of people who support adult content being legal at all say it should be anonymously accessible to adults
What do the experts say?
Jim Killock, founder of Open Rights Group says: ‘The government has not done enough to ensure people’s privacy will be guaranteed if age verification is implemented. Meanwhile, this data shows the people they are trying to protect will find workarounds. Why would we give up our privacy for something that isn’t going to work? It’s not a sensitive trade-off.’
Cindy Gallup, campaigner behind MakeLoveNotPorn says: ‘The UK gov is looking for a technological ‘quick fix’ when there isn’t one. We’re going to have to buck up and talk to young people about p*rn, awkward as it may seem.’
‘The government’s short-sighted drive for more and more regulation, repression, and censorship is completely the wrong approach. Instead of clamping down, censoring, blocking, and repressing, we need to open up to discussion and better representations.’
The survey was conducted through YouthSight for Borkowski. More than 2,000 young people, 16-25, took part in the survey.