Conservative MP Miriam Cates said the Online Safety Bill needs to be enacted ‘urgently’


CONSERVATIVE MP Miriam Cates has urged the Government to enact the Online Safety Bill urgently in order to protect children from an “epidemic” of online pornograhy.

She said: “I think we rightly are paying increasing attention to the dangers that children perhaps face online. And with smartphones, every child has a smartphone now, and there has been be some high profile tragic cases, like the case of Molly Russell, that have have started to raise public awareness of this

“But actually, we’re only scratching the surface when we’re talking about serious issues like self-harm and online bullying.

“Underneath all this is this incredible epidemic of online pornography. And just to kind of put it in perspective, in 2020, porn sites received more views and Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram, Zoom put together and I think in 2019, Pornhub, had 42 billion separate views.”

In an interview with Bev Turner on GB News, she said: “This is an absolute epidemic and about half of 11 year olds, we think, have seen porn. And so you know, once you get older than that, of course, it’s most children.

“And I think the other thing to say is, as well as it being prolific, the kinds of pornography that that children are seeing is not what we might have seen in you know, when we were growing up in a dodgy magazine or something like this.

“This is hardcore, abusive, violent, really horrendous, disgusting stuff that, most adults would be absolutely outraged. Children have free and easy access to this. And it is free and easy.

“It’s almost entirely unregulated at the moment and that’s why we need the online safety bill.”

She said: “There’s pornography that’s provided by dedicated porn sites that make money out of porn and in theory children shouldn’t be able to view those, but we all know that they can.

“But also, there’s a lot of user to user generated pornography that’s either created, sadly, by children or shared by children, often against their will, and their better judgement through platforms that we all use all the time, WhatsApp, and Discord and TikTok.

“It’s just available to view and to be seen by children and people who say, ‘oh, well, it’s a parent’s job to protect their children’ are not living in the real world.

“It is entirely unregulated. And even if your child has no phone, no computer, or no internet access, it takes nothing for the child sitting next to them in the classroom to just show them any old image.”

Ms Cates told GB News: “I think it’s about seeing children as children. We don’t let them buy alcohol, we don’t let them buy cigarettes, we say to adults, you are free to do what is legal up to a point, there are limits on all freedoms, and there should be, but these are children.

“It’s really hard to understand the depths of harms that are being caused here because children are impressionable. Of course, they are particularly when they go through puberty and the ideas they get about sex and puberty are going to stay with them for the rest of their life.

“If the vast majority of the images they are seeing are of women being violently abused, which I’m afraid is most of this pornography – there isn’t even a separate category on Pornhub for strangulation now. It’s so mainstream.

“…this is really extreme behaviour, and yet it’s being normalised…we’re now seeing about a third of child sexual abuse is actually child on child sexual abuse. So, the idea that it’s having no impact on society and it’s a private matter for adults, it’s just completely untrue.

“And just as we protect children from drugs and alcohol, we have to protect them form from pornography.”