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The eSafety Commissioner’s report reveals about 75 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds had seen online pornography (Bigstock)

Digital IDs, voice scans and facial recognition software could be considered as part of an “age assurance” trial under consideration by the Commonwealth in a bid to stop children accessing pornography online. Source: The Australian.

Communications Minister Michelle Rowland released the long-awaited eSafety Commissioner’s age verification road map, which made a suite of recommendations on how to stop children being exposed to sexualised online material.

Julie Inman Grant, the eSafety Commissioner, revealed in the road map that about 75 per cent of 16 to 18-year-olds had seen online pornography, with nearly a third of those having seen it before they turned 13.

More than a third of the young people surveyed said they had first encountered pornography on social media, while about 70 per cent said they had seen it on pornography websites. Another 17 per cent first encountered the material in group chats.

“This material … may often contain depictions of sexual violence and degrading sexual scripts about women and forming a significant proportion of the global online pornography market,” the road map said.

While stressing the need to prevent children gaining access to pornography before they were developmentally ready, the commissioner noted that many age verification technologies were themselves still “immature” and should be “trialled in Australia … before being mandated”.

Ms Rowland left the door open to a trial on age assurance technologies, after the development of industry codes from 2024 that sought to ensure children were not given access to online accounts without parental consent.


Age verification trial under consideration (By Sarah Ison, The Australian)