Call to MEPs to Prevent Child Exposure to Pornography and Violence – Protect Children from Harmful Audiovisual Contents

The European Parliament is about to adopt its report on the revision of the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, which regulates TVs, On-Demand services (e.g. Netflix) and video-sharing platforms (e.g. Youtube).

The current directive explicitly forbids that television broadcasts programmes that contain pornography or gratuitous violence, in order to protect minors from these harmful contents.

According to the European Commission’s new proposal, TVs could broadcast these contents, as long as they are subject to encryption or parental controls.

TV and online content has an important impact on children who need protection from harmful content. Children’s attitudes and behaviour regarding relationships are negatively affected by pornography. Through pornography children perceive a poor, often degrading and violent, image of sexual relationships, dissociating sexuality from the broader context of relationships. Also, it typically depicts women in a submissive role and conveys a disrespectful image of women.

Most children are very much at ease with technologies and access audiovisual contents from multiple platforms (TVs, computers, tablets, smartphones…) at any time and place, making it difficult for parents to monitor what they are doing and increasing the risk that they are exposed to harmful content.

In average European children start using the internet when they are 7 years old. 75% of 15-16 years old people use the internet daily[1]. A UK study found that, on average, children aged 5-16 spend 6.5 hours a day on screens[2].

Exposure of minors to pornography is widespread in Europe. In Italy, a survey found that 67% of boys aged 14-19 and 15% of girls have watched pornographic material. In Sweden, 92% of boys and 57% of girls of 15-18 years of age have watched pornography, a study reports[3]. Exposure to pornography can happen even earlier. In the UK, a survey of children aged 11-16 found that more than half were exposed to such contents[4].

The protection of minors is a priority for families and educators and a matter of utmost importance for the future of our children. The undersigned organisations are thus concerned that the protection of minors from harmful content on audio-visual media services would be undermined through the new directive, leading to detrimental effects on children.

We therefore call the European Parliament to stand with us and reinforce the provisions limiting pornography and gratuitous violence, by reinstating the ban of pornography and gratuitous violence from TVs and enlarging it to other audio-visual media services.

 

Signatories:

 

 

Logo WYA

World Youth Alliance

Logo FAFCE

Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE)

 

Logo ELFAC - Cópia

European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC)

logo alianta-familiilor

Alianţa Familiilor din România, Romania

 Logo Porn Society 2

Porno & Samfund, Denmark

Logo JSM

Justice et Solidarité MondialesFrance-UK

 

Logo Femina Europa

Femina Europa

 

Logo DBI

Don Bosco International

 

logo SIGNIS

 SIGNIS, World Catholic Association for Communication

 

Logo Respekt 2

Respekt, Sweden

 

Logo Druzinska Pobuda2

Družinska Pobuda, Slovenia

 

     

Organisations that wish to sign the letter or obtain more information please contact us at europe@wya.net


[1] http://ec.europa.eu/consumers/europadiary/uk/health/time_online_en.htm

[2] http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32067158

[3] https://www.brushfiresfoundation.org/youth-are-exposed-to-pornography-worldwide/

[4] https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/blog/impact-online-pornography-children