Access to online pornography and wagering would be restricted through mandatory age verification under the recommendations of the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs presented today. The recommendations were made in its report Protecting the age of innocence, following the Committee’s inquiry into the potential role of age verification in protecting children and young people from exposure to online wagering and online pornography.
In its report the Committee has recommended that the eSafety Commissioner and the Digital Transformation Agency take the lead on further work towards implementing a system of mandatory age verification for online wagering and pornography in Australia.
Chair of the Committee, Mr Andrew Wallace MP, says that, like thousands of members of the public who made submissions to this inquiry, the Committee was deeply concerned about the extent to which young people are accessing or being exposed to potentially harmful content on the internet.
‘The evidence was clear that exposure to online pornography is associated with terrible harms to young people’s health, education, relationships, and wellbeing. The Committee also heard that exposure to internet wagering at a young age can lead to problem gambling later in life,’ Mr Wallace said.
‘While age verification is not a silver bullet, it can create a significant barrier to prevent young people—and particularly young children—from exposure to harmful online content. We must not let the perfect be the enemy of the good.’
The Committee acknowledges the high level of public interest in the inquiry, having received over 3000 contributions, and thanks all of the individuals and organisations who engaged with the inquiry.
A full copy of the Committee’s report can be found on the inquiry’s website.