Fianna Fáil TD Jim O’Callaghan has called for better regulations to prevent children accessing pornography online.
“I think there is a lack of appreciation of how prevalent pornography now is in the lives of children,” the Dublin Bay South TD said.
“They can easily access graphic and violent pornography online. This can give children a very warped view of sexuality.
“We protect children from other damaging products so I think efforts should be made to protect them from serious online pornography. The best way to achieve this is by getting social media companies and Internet service providers to play their part.”
O’Callaghan’s comments come after an International Women’s Day tweet in which he alleged that the proliferation of porn had a negative effect on women’s safety.
“To reduce violence against women & girls we need to stop the online proliferation of porn. ISPs should be required by law to stop porn being accessed by children.
“The presentation of women as submissive sexual objects threatens their safety.”
To reduce violence against women & girls we need to stop the online proliferation of porn. ISPs should be required by law to stop porn being accessed by children. The presentation of women as submissive sexual objects threatens their safety.#ReclaimTheseStreets
— Jim O'Callaghan TD (@OCallaghanJim) March 14, 2021
O’Callaghan’s comments contrast starkly with certain academics’ calls to introduce “porn literacy” in schools as part of RSE curriculum “to remove the stigma.”
— Independent.ie (@Independent_ie) February 6, 2019
The Irish government has previously considered the introduction of age-verification measures for online pornography websites. In 2019 the UK implemented a similar policy, with users expected to prove they are over 18 before consuming adult content.
According to a recent study by NUIG, almost 60% of boys in Ireland see pornography before the age of 13, and 99% see it before the legal age of 18.
High profile cases, like the brutal killing of 14-year-old Ana Kriegel by two teenage boys, who were believed to have been fueled and inspired at least in part by violent pornography, have gained national attention in recent years, leading to intense discussion around the area of youth access to x-rated content.