California Bill to Ban Minors From Viewing Pornography Unanimously Passes State Assembly

California Bill to Ban Minors From Viewing Pornography Unanimously Passes State Assembly

A screen displays a “no under-18s” sign in front of the logo of a pornographic website as regulators consider requiring such sites to ensure they are preventing minors from being exposed to their content. (Lionel Bonaventure/AFP via Getty Images)

Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

5/19/2024

Updated: 5/21/2024

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A California bill that would prevent minors from viewing pornography and obscene material online has received unanimous approval to advance to the Senate for consideration.
The Assembly voted 65–0 on May 16 to advance Assembly Bill 3080, which would require websites that contain obscene sexual content to require age verification.
It would also ban such websites from retaining the personal information of users.
The bill had previously passed the Assembly’s committees on privacy and consumer protection and judiciary, also unanimously. It will now be considered in the Senate in the coming weeks.
When presented with privacy and free speech concerns at the most recent committee hearing, Assemblymember Juan Alanis, who introduced the bill, cited a recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court denying an emergency stay against a much broader and restrictive Texas age-verification law, which was recently upheld by the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
“This proposal is first and foremost about protecting children,” Mr. Alanis said in a May 16 statement. “We know there are serious negative effects on young people who are exposed to this type of material, who regularly consume it, and who become addicted to it at far too young of an age.”
Current state law does not require age verification for pornography websites, according to Mr. Alanis’s office.
As a result, many children are exposed to obscene content, which often results in psychological damage, the assemblymember said.
“California has long been on the forefront of legislation that aims to protect children from abuse and exploitation, yet, not restricting access to pornographic content leaves California minors at risk of psychological damage that could last a lifetime,” Mr. Alanis said in a fact sheet on the bill.
Common Sense, a nonprofit that advocates for children, conducted a survey in 2022 of 1,300 minors regarding their consumption of pornography. The study found that most gain access to pornography at the age at which they receive their smartphones.
According to the study, 58 percent of the children surveyed reported accidental exposure to pornography. Among those who intentionally consumed pornography, 71 percent had done so recently.
The study also found that 15 percent of the children surveyed were first exposed to pornography at age 10 or younger.
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Micaela Ricaforte

Micaela Ricaforte

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Micaela Ricaforte covers education in Southern California for The Epoch Times. In addition to writing, she is passionate about music, books, and coffee.

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