New Zealand could follow the United Kingdom in bringing in age restrictions
for online pornography and blocking websites which refuse to comply.
Department of Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin, who also holds the children's portfolio, says young people are being bombarded by internet pornography and she wants censorship laws to be strengthened.
This is a really, really big issue to New Zealand and we are going to have a serious conversation about it, she told the Herald. Martin supports the approach of the United Kingdom, which has ambitious and controversial plans to introduce
mandatory age verification for pornographic websites later this year.
She made the comments after the Chief Censor began a major piece of research on New Zealand teenagers' online pornography habits. We're pretty excited about it, Chief Censor David Shanks said.
We think it's going to give us some potentially world-leading data on the New Zealand situation and teens and pornography. With this research our aim is to get solid evidence about the experiences and perspectives of young people on the table
so there can be an informed debate.
In our view policy in this area does need some consideration, in terms of how do you regulate use and access to porn in the digital environment. The question there is . . . when the average age to get a smartphone is 10 and a half to 11 years
old, what sort of tools and restrictions can we really place on access to material that's widely available on the internet?
The Office of Film and Literature Classification began the survey last week of 2300 people aged between 14 and 17. It asks if teenagers look at online pornography, how often, what sort of content, why they are looking at it, and how they are
viewing it. The survey is expected to be completed in December.
Martin said the Chief Censor's research was vital work, though she is already intent on changes:
I have already had conversations with the Chief Censor with regard to a particular drive of mine to make sure we as a nation do something about what is the bombardment of pornography and the easy access to pornography that our young people are
Considering our censorship laws were pre-internet, this is an area that we have left for a long time without addressing and I think we need to address it.
Martin said she was not interested in wholesale bans on online content because they did not work. But she supported the UK Government's approach, saying she was interested in any policy which helped to protect young people. She added:
I would really like to watch how they implement it and see what are the challenges for them.
Alan suggests an article that urges decriminalisation and trade union organization for sex workers.
It attributes support to both Corbyn and McDonnell. There were some noises to the opposite effect about Corbyn a few weeks ago, but I've been aware of McD's support for sex workers since I worked in the neighbouring constituency (Bozza's now)
15-20 years ago.
The Scottish Government ran a consultation from 1st November 2017 to 7th of February 2018 asking for opinions on allowing
councils to adopt a licensing regime for lap dancing venues in their area. This seems to be based on the licensing regime already in place in England and Wales.
The Government received 31 responses which it has just published. The Government will now consider these before publishing sits final guidance on the subject.
By Eran Shor and Kimberly Seida of Montreal's McGill University
It is a common notion among many scholars and pundits that the pornography industry becomes harder and harder with every passing year. Some have suggested that porn viewers, who are mostly men, become desensitized to soft pornography, and
producers are happy to generate videos that are more hard core, resulting in a growing demand for and supply of violent and degrading acts against women in mainstream pornographic videos.
We examined this accepted wisdom by utilizing a sample of 269 popular videos uploaded to PornHub over the past decade. More specifically, we tested two related claims, reflected in both the number of views and the rankings for videos containing
(1) aggressive content in videos is on the rise and
(2) viewers prefer such content,
Our results offer no support for these contentions. First, we did not find any consistent uptick in aggressive content over the past decade; in fact, the average video today contains shorter segments showing aggression. Second, videos containing
aggressive acts are both less likely to receive views and less likely to be ranked favorably by viewers, who prefer videos where women clearly perform pleasure.
Unlike many previous studies claiming to quantify aggressive behavior in porn, the McGill researchers defined several different categories of aggressive behavior in porn scenes. The researchers counted acts which simply appear intended to cause
harm, pain or discomfort, and created a separate category for video which depicted those acts as clearly non-consensual, as determined by verbal or visual cues.
Conversely, anti-porn groups that claim excessive violence in porn usually count such acts as playful slaps on the ass, a hand on the throat, and the use of such terms as bitch or slut, no matter in what context, as violent acts.
While they found that depictions of visible aggression fluctuate but show no steady upward or downward trend, with between 30 and 50 percent all videos uploaded each year depicting some visible aggression, the duration of aggressive scenes has
shown a sharp drop over the past decade.
In 2008, nearly 13% of the average video portrayed visible aggression, the researchers write. But in 2016, the average video contained aggressive content lasting only three percent of the total video running time.