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TRF joins the UK conversation about Child Safety Online

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Team TRF were invited to attend a symposium called “Child Safety Online: Keeping Ahead of the Game” with members of the Working Party on the Family from the House of Lords and the House of Commons on Thursday 20 October in Westminster.  Other third sector organisations were there too.

Here is a journalistic report of the proceedings.

John Carr, a highly regarded international adviser on internet safety and security was our host. He encouraged people to lobby their MPs to impose stricter age verification conditions on the credit card companies as part of the crack down against exploitation by the porn industry of the vulnerable under 18-year olds. The government, having first shown willing in this direction, had recently weakened its position on this important issue.

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Mary Sharpe and John Carr

John Carr is also keen to explore the legal possibilities for reducing the reach of the porn industry. Mary Sharpe, TRF CEO, once dealt with product liability legislation at the EC Commission in Brussels and agrees it may be a good route to explore. Darryl Mead, Chair of TRF, had also suggested the use of the “precautionary principle” at a conference in Munich earlier this year, another area being explored by John.

If the porn industry is causing harm, and it is, see link to the powerful talk by Professor Gail Dines to the American Academy of Pediatrics, this growing multi-billion dollar industry should pay for the health harms it creates, just like the tobacco industry. The porn industry is using the same disinformation tactics the tobacco industry used in the 1970’s too. This includes a campaign by some financially-interested parties to spread lies about the research, saying that none exists to support addiction or any harms from excessive use of internet pornography.

In the meantime, while it is almost impossible to reduce the ‘supply’ of pornography, the best we can do is try to educate people so as to reduce the ‘demand’ for it.  The good news is that recovery from porn addiction is possible but it is a hard journey, one best avoided if possible.

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