The Push To Restrict Porn Begins

Over half of American teenagers report seeing porn online.

What’s happening: A growing number of states are drafting legislation to restrict porn access for minors. Florida, South Carolina, Maryland, Tennessee, Iowa, Idaho, Texas, and Montana are all considering laws aimed at forcing Big Tech to censor sexual content on phones and tablets. The bills would require devices sold within these states to filter nude/adult content by default. The only way to disable the filter is through a passcode—providing passcodes to underage users without parental permission would be illegal.

Why? The impetus for the bills comes from a pilot plan in Utah that would block adult content on all phones within the state; it would fine phone manufacturers $10 per violation when minors access porn on a phone without a filter. The catch, however, is that the porn ban has to catch on: The bill won’t go into effect unless at least other five states adopt similar laws by 2031. With eight states currently weighing similar bills regarding minors, this could be the beginning of a major blow to the porn industry’s youngest victims.

Big picture: On average, teens ages 13-17 report being first exposed to online porn at age 12, with some encountering sexually explicit material online at age 10 or younger. The majority of American teenagers have seen porn, either intentionally or accidentally. While Utah’s bill strives to restrict porn access for adults and children alike, other bills being considered across the nation aim to keep porn out of reach for only minors, a stepping stone in America’s reckoning with the porn industry.

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