Country Progress with Age Verification

One component of public health

Summit Goals & Beyond

Global Change

Age Verification Solutions

Safety ~ Security ~ Privacy

Solutions to Create Change

Country Progress with Age Verification

A global multi-sectoral public health response is emerging as a framework for exploration as we work together across the disciplines of medicine, neuroscience, sociology, psychology, social work, education, technology, and legal settings, recognizing and applying the experiences of front-line professionals to protect children from and build resilience to harmful pornographic content on the internet.

Among the first to investigate adequate responses to children accessing pornography, the UK provides us with a useful model in terms of pursuing this issue using age verification solutions and mandatory relationships and sexuality education. Other progressive approaches have emerged in Australia with the formation of an eSafety Commissioner; and the public health focussed charity, eChildhood. eChildhood championed government intervention by contributing to a 2019 Federal Committee Parliamentary Inquiry. Robust recommendations in support of Age Verification were published in February 2020 via the Protecting the Age of Innocence Report and was support was shown by the government in June 2021.

In 2017, Canada implemented Private Members Bill M-47. Focused efforts were renewed in October 2020 with Senator Julie Miville-Dechêne tabling Bill S-203 to promote a new regulatory framework to tackle online harms: Protecting Young Persons from Exposure to Pornography Act. Bill S-203 was passed in the Senate on June 28, 2021, to now be debated in the fall parliament. Additionally, the Standing Committee on the Status of Women (FEWO) [pursuant to standing order 108(2)] raised a motion in December 2020 to investigate the electronic commerce of companies distributing pornography and the resulting harms on children and women. In December 2020, the Standing Committee on Access to Information Privacy and Ethics (ETHI) invited two representatives of Pornhub / MindGeek, namely Feras Antoon and David Tassillo, to explain the company’s failure to prohibit rape videos and other illegal content from its site, and what steps it has taken and plans to take to protect the reputation and privacy of young people and other individuals who have never provided their consent.

It is clear various countries are progressing forward to protect children from internet pornography by limiting access through introducing Age Verification Solutions. In June 2020, a global Age Verification Virtual Conference was hosted by The Reward Foundation with the leadership of John Carr OBE, Secretary of the Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety. The resulting report provides an update on Age Verification Solutions, education initiatives and how countries such as Poland, France, South Africa, the Netherlands, New Zealand and others are responding. Since this time, more progress has been made. Though vital, age verification is only one component of a public health response and not enough on its own.

Why now?

Extraordinary challenges presented by current world events have triggered an increase in the number of children accessing pornography and being sexually exploited online. There has never been a more urgent time to unify and prioritize the mental health and safety consequences to children having unrestricted access to online pornography.

This summit represents a unique opportunity to reach individuals and organizations that need solutions to address this problem. Collaboration of experience and leadership are vital to connect, educate, and mobilize key stakeholders globally; and prevent and address the negative impacts caused to children and young people accessing legal pornography online.

Through a strategic and coordinated response, we can find new ways to safeguard the physical social and mental wellbeing of our children and communities globally. Additionally, multi-sectoral involvement will positively impact children, young people, and family health, stimulating change in the domains of digital, education, therapeutic and treatment initiatives, public policy, and legislation.

Key stakeholders from around the world are ready for and in full support of a global summit being created to build a global coalition to address the issue.

Goals of the Global Summit and Beyond

Our global steering committee of experts and stakeholders are addressing this global public health issue commencing with a summit—a gathering of like-minded individuals who share a common goal to mobilize a global coalition and launch a resource and research hub.

GOAL 1

Commence with a Global Virtual Summit

Host the Connecting to Protect 2021 inaugural global virtual summit: October 13-15, 2021

Stronger Together: protecting children from online pornography by inviting a public health response will connect, educate, and mobilize key stakeholders globally to prevent and address the negative impacts caused to children and young people accessing legal pornography online.

As a prerequisite of attending the Summit, delegates are required to acknowledge a shared memorandum of understanding. Select attendees will also be invited to contribute by providing an overview of their country’s current approaches to addressing this issue.

The Summit will facilitate expert-led educational and collaborative sessions on strategic responses to protect children and young people from online pornography including:

  • Current Research, neuroscience, psychology, child protection, and sociology
  • Legislation and policy
  • Technology and age verification
  • Education and awareness strategies across all sectors
  • Therapeutic protocols and strategies

GOAL 2

Establish a Global Coalition

Launch and establish membership in the Connecting to Protect Global Coalition, guided by a Global Action Plan.

The Global Coalition will identify and educate key individuals to champion a strategic response to help align all countries’ initiatives globally. We aim to gain traction at multiple levels, igniting a nonpartisan approach to changing laws and protecting children and young people from accessing online pornography.

  • Membership and participation in the Connecting to Protect Global Coalition is by application.
  • To inform the direction of the Global Coalition, Connecting to Protect will produce a Global Action Plan: Strategic Response Report (informed by the Summit learnings—see Goal 1). This will align global initiatives to protect children and young people from accessing online pornography and focus on responding to the mental health and safety consequences.
  • The Global Action Plan will be accessible to all individuals and organizations (regardless of membership status) as they address this problem in their country.
  • Members will ratify a Statement of Negative Impacts developed collaboratively and commit to promoting the Global Action Plan as applicable within their respective countries.

GOAL 3

Mobilize the Global Coalition

Set strategic actions for the Connecting to Protect Global Coalition.

These will include:

  • Formation of specialized working groups to mobilize coalition members.
  • Support Coalition Members to develop and implement an action plan specific to their country to protect children from accessing online pornography and respond to safety and mental health.
  • As they work towards implementing the Global Action Plan within their respective countries, members will be provided with an opportunity for collaborative contribution, supported by learnings from Coalition Members.

GOAL 4

Establish a Global Resource & Research Hub

Develop and establish the Connecting to Protect Resource and Research Hub.

Through Coalition membership, steering committees and coordinators will invite contributions to the Connecting to Protect Global Resource and Research Hub.

The Global Resource Hub will include:

  • A collection of policy and legal templates, including recommendations for Age Verification.
  • Processes for implementing safeguarding measures for child protection
  • Links to vetted therapeutic processes, practices, and policies to implement rehabilitation and prevention of long-term mental, behavioural, safety and health consequences.
  • Education and awareness materials.

The Global Research Hub will incorporate:

  • Collated research, reviews, and links to existing journal articles.
  • Best practice research methodologies and templates.
  • Scholarly recommendations to address porn harms and suggestions for areas that require further research.

Age Verification Solutions