Families, communities, and nations are stronger when children are protected from online pornography. According to Dennis Romboy, Congress has attempted several times to “prevent children from being able to access online pornography,” but the U.S. Supreme Court has struck them down.
Now, Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) believes that he has a proposal that will pass the requirements of the First Amendment. In addition, Lee introduced legislation to “establish a national definition of obscenity.” His bill would require the Federal Communications Commission to “issue a rule requiring all commercial pornographic websites to adopt age verification technology to ensure children cannot access pornographic content.”
Lee’s legislation has an interesting title, but one that fits the purpose – something that most Democrat bills do not. Lee’s bill is titled the Shielding Children’s Retinas from Egregious Exposure on the Net (SCREEN) Act. He said that the “vast technological improvements” of our day “give his bill … good legal ground to pass the Supreme Court’s requirement that the government use the least restrictive means to a accomplish its interest.”
“Given the alarming rate of teenage exposure to pornography, I believe the government must act quickly to enact protections that have a real chance of surviving First Amendment scrutiny. We require age verification at brick-and-mortar shops. Why shouldn’t we require it online?” Lee said in a statement.
In the 20 years since the Supreme Court last took up the issue, blocking and filtering software has proven to be ineffective in protecting children from accessing online pornography, with nearly 80% of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 exposed to such content, according to Lee.
“Every day, we’re learning more about the negative psychological effects pornography has on minors,” he said.
I did research on pornography for one of my classes this semester, and I know that Lee’s comments agree with the research that I studied. Lee said that in 2016 Utah was the first state to declare pornography to be a public health hazard. Now there are seventeen states that “have recognized pornography as a public health crisis leading to a broad range of individual, societal and public health impacts.”
If Lee’s bill becomes a law that the Supreme Court declares to be constitutional, it will direct “the FCC to issue a rule to require commercial pornographic websites to adopt age verification technology to ensure that users of the website are not children.” In addition, the bill would “grant the FCC enforcement powers, including civil penalties and injunctive relief.”
I learned from my research that the use of pornography causes users to avoid relationships with real humans, meaning that they have less desire to marry. Marriage is essential for strong families, so wise parents will do everything in their power to protect their children from access to pornography. The government may soon help the parental effort to protect the rising generation and aid in the creation of strong families, which in turn strengthen communities and governments.
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