About

Porn restrictions targeted ahead of regulations coming into effect

Share
The eSafety Commissioner has delivered a blueprint for adding an age limit on porn in Australia. This is what they said
should porn have an age limit

The Government is introducing new regulations for online platforms to limit children’s exposure to pornography.

Australia’s online safety regulator, the eSafety Commissioner, developed the measures after the Government asked it to address an increase in young people accessing explicit content.

Age verification for porn

A 2020 parliamentary committee found that young people are increasingly being exposed to online pornography.

The committee recommended the development of an age verification tool to block children from accessing pornography websites.

It asked the eSafety Commissioner to develop a roadmap for age verification, which it has now released.

Porn in Australia

The eSafety Commissioner noted that Pornhub is the most popular porn platform in Australia, and one of the most visited websites in the country.

It said most Australians are exposed to pornography from a young age. Many first see it while in primary school.

The eSafety Commissioner said readily accessible ‘mainstream’ porn generally targeted heterosexual males and often depicted sexual violence or the degradation of women.

The report flagged concern over the impact these attitudes and behaviours could have on a young person.

Should porn have an age limit?

The eSafety Commissioner’s new roadmap did not recommend introducing an age-related restriction on pornography websites. This was due to security, privacy, and reliability concerns. It also said age verification tools aren’t yet ready for immediate use.

Instead, it recommended a trial of age verification technologies. However, the Government has not committed to this trial yet.

Government response

The Federal Government says it is implementing new regulations for online platforms to protect children from pornography and explicit material.

These regulations will apply to eight key sections of the online industry, including social media networks and search engines.

The government plans to roll out the regulations across two phases. Phase one comes into effect in December.

Class 1 porn

The first phase refers to ‘Class 1’ material, which deals with sex, cruelty, or violence in a manner that ‘most adults’ would see as ‘immoral, indecent, or otherwise improper’.

The new rules require internet providers such as Telstra or Optus to offer easily accessible information about how users can limit access to Class 1 material.

Class 1 also includes a crackdown on child sexual exploitation material.

This includes mandating that social media sites remove child abuse material within 24 hours of it being identified and take enforcement action against whoever posted it.

Class 2 porn

The other phase of industry codes will address ‘Class 2’ content, which will include pornography that depicts actual sex between consenting adults, or realistically simulated sex.

The government hasn’t finalised Class 2 industry codes yet. Potential regulations could include giving online users the option of subscribing to a filtered internet service, or helping users to block pornography.

The Government said it will make a decision on an age verification trial after it judges the success of the second phase.

Become smarter in three minutes

Get the daily email that makes reading the news actually enjoyable. Stay informed, for free.

Be the smart friend in your group chat

Join thousands of young Aussies and get our 5 min daily newsletter on what matters in your world.

It’s easy. It’s trustworthy. It’s free.