A sign for the ages

A sign for the ages

A sign for the ages

A movement is underway to help keep children off pornography websites.

The European Union has collared three of the world's biggest porn websites – Pornhub, XVideos, and Stripchat – forcing them to follow more stringent controls under its Digital Services Act. According to The Associated Press, they are the first porn sites to be targeted by the Digital Services Act.

Haley McNamara is director of the International Centre on Sexual Exploitation in the UK and vice president of the U.S.-based National Center on Sexual Exploitation. She tells AFN all three porn providers have to follow new rules.

McNamara, Haley (NCOSE) McNamara

"Requiring them to do more to do things like review complaints, review issues around child exploitation material that might be uploaded there – and very interestingly, it is going to require them to use age-verification tools to keep kids off of these pornography websites," she explains.

It's an idea that has spread to the United States. Seven states – Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, Montana, Utah, and Texas – have passed age-verification laws.

"We see that the EU is a bit ahead of where the U.S. is right now on this," McNamara acknowledges, "but I really do believe that this age-verification idea of keeping kids off of pornography websites is so common sense [that] I think in five to seven years we're going to see it be the norm instead of the exception."

By age 10 to 11, most children have been exposed to pornography. And as pornographers have stated in the past, if they can capture them as consumers while they are young, they are likely customers for life.