Earlier this week, our favourite Tory David Cameron revealed that he is making plans for porn filters in British homes which would mean people would have to opt in if they wished to view pornography. Cameron’s proposal is primarily to combat child pornography, but he also hopes to make porn that depicts rape illegal as well as protect children from ”poisonous” pornography websites that he believes are ”corroding” childhoods.
In regards to child pornography, the proposed filters are unlikely to have much effect because child pornography is often shared from peer to peer rather than being googled. Also, most experienced peadophiles use things such as VPNs meaning that they’ll do little more than laugh at the filters put in place.
David Cameron also hopes to ban pornography that depicts violence against women, but such a move is unlikely to make any significant impact on sexual violence against women. The proposal to ban porn depicting sexual violence against women suggests that such pornography is the cause of sexual violence against women and not a symptom; after all, sexual violence against women existed long before porn, and in recent years violent crime has actually gone down.
That isn’t to say I’m an advocate of violent pornography, but at the same time porn depicts many scenarios that people don’t feel the need to go out and fulfil. Watching pornography won’t make someone go out and rape someone anymore than watching horror films will make someone go out on a killing spree in. To say that is the case simplifies the problem of sexual violence which is much more complex than the idea of someone watching a porno then deciding to reenact it.
Of course, children should be protected from porn, but that is the duty of the parent. It is not difficult to put some password protected filters on the broadband systems at home, so instead of putting filters on porn, how about teaching parents how to put filters on themselves?
Whether we like it or not, porn is something that is here to stay which can be seen in how around a quarter of all internet searches are for porn websites. David Cameron placing filters on homes is unlikely to achieve anything, and better time and money would be spent policing the internet for illegal content and educating children by teaching them that what is depicted in pornography isn’t real. This is something they will discover when they eventually start having sex and realise that not every girl could win a gold in gymnastics in the Olympics and not every male is hung like a Shire horse.
David Cameron may believe he is doing the right thing, but it’s quite hypocritical of him when women still bare their breasts in national papers which are in places where children are far more likely to stumble upon them. Until then Mr Cameron should focus on issues such as the NHS and taxes rather than trying to distract us all from them with a proposal that is flawed and unlikely to succeed.