Jonathon van Maren

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Will stronger age verification requirements protect kids from porn in the UK?

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

March 12, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) — The global experiment of ubiquitous digital pornography is growing so quickly that it is nearly impossible to exaggerate the scale of what is taking place. In 2016, the smut giant PornHub estimated that so many people were using its websites around the world that about a dozen porn videos were viewed for every man, woman, and child on Planet Earth. Many sociologists, biologists, and behavioral psychologists bluntly admit that the compulsive consumption of increasingly hardcore and sexually violent material on a nearly daily basis is unprecedented in human history, and that we do not yet know how devastating or dramatic the impact of this cultural transformation will be.

While some countries are moving to stanch skyrocketing sexual assault rates by banning pornography entirely, Great Britain has also made an extremely encouraging and aggressive move to keep porn out of the hands of children. Perhaps as early as April 1 of this year, porn sites will be required by law to get evidence of identification from all United Kingdom residents before the internet users can access the porn sites. Traditionally, porn companies have simply had users click to affirm they are over eighteen, while being fully aware that this intentionally useless formality stops precisely nobody underage from accessing X-rated material. That is the point.

In fact, porn companies genuinely want young people to begin watching their hardcore filth. The younger the user, the more deeply entrenched and compulsive the porn habit will become. Clicks are cash, addicts keep clicking, and porn use usually escalates over time. The age of first exposure to pornography plunges ever younger — it is now below the age of twelve — and the number of children who gain their understanding of sexuality from pornography spikes ever higher.

Now, in what is only a first step, but a very welcome one nonetheless, the sexual exploitation empires of PornHub and YouPorn, which attract around two billion visits worldwide each month, will be forced to take steps to prevent children from accessing their hardcore products.

Porn sites will now be required to install the AgeID system, which requires those accessing the sites to verify their age using government identification such as a passport or driver’s license. Those trying to get onto a porn site will first end up on a “landing page,” were they will be required to verify their age before being permitted to proceed further. These landing pages will be non-pornographic, and users will have to register with AgeID using a government ID or a credit card or Mobile SMS. After receiving an AgeID username and password, they will be able to access the porn site they are attempting to view. These rules were approved as a part of the Digital Economy Act of 2017 and were supposed to come into effect last year but were delayed.

The point of these new measures, experts and legislators have consistently said, is to keep porn out of the hands of minors, especially with alarming trends such as the rise of child-on-child sexual assault. If porn sites fail to definitively prove that they are preventing children under the age of 18 from accessing their sites, government regulators will be able to have U.K. internet service providers block the sites entirely — or could fine the porn companies up to 250,000 pounds. While it is true that such amounts are a drop in the bucket for the porn giants, threats of blanket bans — if actually enforced — should have a greater effect.

Some experts have pointed out that determined young people will surely access pornography anyhow. This is almost certainly true. But any roadblock placed in between children and pornography is a step in the right direction, and these new requirements will at least prevent children from stumbling onto hardcore pornography, as is often the case.

The upcoming digital generation are serving as guinea pigs in our collective cultural experiment with the near-universal availability and accessibility of hardcore pornography, and it is high time that governments started to realize that it is no longer only the destruction of innocence that is at stake. It is the ability of upcoming generations to pursue healthy, loving relationships unpoisoned by the sexually violent and degrading material being pumped into their minds by vile flesh-traffickers selling girls for profit.

Jonathon’s new podcast, The Van Maren Show, is dedicated to telling the stories of the pro-life and pro-family movement. In his latest episode, he interviews the “Godfather” of the U.S. pro-life movement, Joe Scheidler. Ninety-one-year-old Scheidler says it was during a speech he attended by Senator Henry Hyde in Chicago in the early 1970s that he became interested in the pro-life fight. “I listened very carefully to Henry’s talk and then I started studying the whole pro-life issue of fetal development,” he says. “I thought this was going to destroy our country because we are taking protection away from the most helpless — the unborn.” You can subscribe here, and listen to the episode below: 

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Jonathon van Maren

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Jonathon Van Maren is a public speaker, writer, and pro-life activist. His commentary has been translated into more than eight languages and published widely online as well as print newspapers such as the Jewish Independent, the National Post, the Hamilton Spectator and others. He has received an award for combating anti-Semitism in print from the Jewish organization B’nai Brith. His commentary has been featured on CTV Primetime, Global News, EWTN, and the CBC as well as dozens of radio stations and news outlets in Canada and the United States.

He speaks on a wide variety of cultural topics across North America at universities, high schools, churches, and other functions. Some of these topics include abortion, pornography, the Sexual Revolution, and euthanasia. Jonathon holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in history from Simon Fraser University, and is the communications director for the Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform.

Jonathon’s first book, The Culture War, was released in 2016.