You Should Have to “Opt In” To Access Porn on Your Computer

Sounds crazy, right?

But consider the kind of pornography that’s available on the internet. Much of it contains brutal and degrading sexual violence against women, sometimes in the form of theatrically created rape, assault, or molestation scenes. This is behavior that is societally impermissible.  Now think about how easy it is for children and teenagers to access pornography on the home computer.

Roughly zero percent of “romantic encounters” in pornography resemble anything that would actually happen in real life, and a minor who views porn might come away with some very wrongheaded ideas about women, sex, and love.

This isn’t about censorship. All graphically explicit material on the internet will be accessible to those who opt in. While opting in might seem embarrassing, especially with the default set to “opt out,” the embarrassing effect is ameliorated by the millions of other people who will opt in. By referring to the materials at issue as “explicit and potentially disturbing material,” it will at least be plausible that those who are opting in aren’t doing it just for pornography. Shocking and controversial art, film, and other explicit media can be nicely wrapped up into the same package.

This “opt-in” approach is currently being used in Britain and has inspired Republican State Senator Todd Weiler to push for something similar in the state of Utah. As someone who identifies as “left-wing” politically, I can’t remember ever being so supportive of proposed legislation from a Republican official. While some minors will of course be successful in finding other ways to access porn, this idea will protect our children using the home computer or tablet while preserving the right of adults to view sexually explicit content on the internet. It’s a rare opportunity to get something for nothing.

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