As I write this blogpiece i have the Protecting Children Online Debate on BBC Parliament. A copy of the motion is below (I will add the hansard notes of the debate once they are available).
That this House deplores the growth in child abuse images online; deeply regrets that up to one and a half million people have seen such images; notes with alarm the lack of resources available to the police to tackle this problem; further notes the correlation between viewing such images and further child abuse; notes with concern the Government’s failure to implement the recommendations of the Bailey Review and the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection on ensuring children’s safe access to the internet; and calls on the Government to set a timetable for the introduction of safe search as a default, effective age verification and splash page warnings and to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure these changes are speedily implemented.
It’s an interesting debate, although I’m finding state versus parents responsibility argument exceedingly flawed. It is my opinion that a holistically considered approach can be the only way forward to reducing the harm. I believe an approach that involves the state, industry, education and the family (or guardian) is needed to tackle the issue. But I question whether there’s really the will, particularly by industry to do more to protect children. It took a lot of lobbying and work to eventually get Facebook to put an alert button for children and young people to report suspicious users. But we need to as a local and global society to protect and reduce the harm of the pornification, sexualisation & abuse of children.
One of the hardest to control is how other children and young people access sexualised and pronographic images. Technology is much more advanced than when I was a child, and develops rapidly. I should know being a gadget freak. However one thing that hasn’t changed is how others share such content with each other . As a teen I remember sharing and swapping copies of porn mags with my friends, however this wasn’t my first experience of porn, no was finding some old mags when I was 10 or 11 (that i assume was my dad’s, although he claims it must have been the builders of our house). My first experience with porn goes back much earlier, in fact before I’d even started school. On the first occasion I was abused, I was shown some porn magazines. I didn’t really understand what I was being shown, but 3 decades later I realise that in my head I connect porn with sex acts. Now it leads me to question how could anyone have been protected in such a situation and even more frighteningly how a child can be protected in the 21st century. I fear whilst we as a society are quick to shift blame or responsibility to someone else then we never will. Every member of society is a stakeholder and has responsibility to protect children and young people and it’s time we all stood up and said no.