Brits Argue Over Porn Access Age

Brits Argue Over Porn Access Age
Gretchen Gallen
UNITED KINGDOM – Liberal Democrats are pressing hard to change the law so that teens as young as 16 years old can access and purchase sexually explicit material, a move that has angered child advocacy and church groups and caused opposing political groups to attack the plan.

The vote in favor of reducing the age restriction from 18 to 16 years came at the Liberal Democrat spring conference in Southport. However, the delegates are in agreement with a ban on material that exploits unlawful acts involving youngsters under 16.

Arguments in favor of reducing age restrictions are an effort to do away with what is being referred to as the "twilight zone" between children and near-adults who at 16 and 17 can participate in most adult activities except when it comes to adult material.

"We still do not allow 16-year-olds to watch sex, despite the fact they can currently have sex, lawfully marry and indeed, a woman may choose to have a baby at 16," a party member was quoted as saying.

Some members of the Liberal Democrat party are even saying that prohibiting 16-year-olds from accessing porn is a violation of their free speech rights.

"It is a difficult task to determine when people can have access to adult material," Joan Irvine, executive director for Adult Sites Against Pornography (ASACP), told XBiz. "This is usually a decision between parent and child. However, young adults have sex at a much earlier age than most of the people who are making the laws. Plus, they have access via the web. Therefore, it is important to have a consistent age on an international basis.

According to reports, the policy was branded "irresponsible" by the Tories and the Church of England.

"This irresponsible policy is likely to lead to the exploitation of young people and it adds to the many ridiculous policies the Liberal Democrats have dreamed up over recent years," a member of the Tories was quoted as saying.