United Nations: Restricting Porn Access for Children Infringes on Human Rights

A 2020 EU Kids Online Study led the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to claim that any efforts to prohibit children from viewing sexual content online may be a human right violation.

In a now-edited report, UNICEF shared the study responses and its take on the data in relation to human rights and child development. The conclusion was drawn by study responses that claimed children were “neither upset nor happy” after viewing pornographic images. Allegedly, responses showed that “39 percent (in Spain) reported feeling happy after seeing such images.”

UNICEF regards exposure to sexual content as a developmental “opportunity” for children.

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The data was gathered from children across 19 European Union countries. UNICEF’s response to the study has come under attack from child advocacy groups, sexual exploitation researchers, and anti-porn activists. “UNICEF’s report ignores the vast body of research demonstrating the harms of pornography to children.

By ignoring the real harms pornography can have, UNICEF is playing roulette with children’s health and safety,” said Lisa Thompson, vice president and director of the Research Institute at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation.

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Prior to the removal and re-publication of the report, the Center for Family & Human Rights created a petition to protest UNICEF’s “pro-porn report on kids.” More than 400 child safety experts and advocates from 26 counties condemned UNICEF’s report. In a letter to UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore, child safety advocates cite mental and physical developmental stunts that result from consuming sexual content at a young age.

They write, “We thank you that edits appear to have been made to this document to correct these claims. Though the edits still fall short of recognizing the vast body of research demonstrating the harms of pornography to children, and therefore lay a faulty foundation for future potential policies that could put children at psychological and social developmental risk due to pornography exposure.”

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