No, I do not believe these numbers

Children will be blocked from online pornography sites which will demand users to prove they are adults, under new legislation.

Ministers want sites to ask for credit card details and other personal information to prove they are over 18.

The new legislation which is being drafted is aimed at stopping the estimated 20,000 children aged 16 and under who are accessing pornographic material online every month, according to Atvod, the Authority for Television on Demand.

Of these, around 44,000 are believed to be primary school age pupils.


Partly because
it’s obvious that it should be 200,000, so that 44,000 can be smaller than that number. But also because the 200,000 looks to be very small to me.

There’s what, 300,000 kids in each year? Half male, so 600,000 teenage boys of 12 to 16 in the country at any one time? Any number less than 599,999 for accessing porn once a month on the internet isn’t going to be believable, is it?

28 comments on “No, I do not believe these numbers

  1. I can see a profit market around the school yard selling credit card details to boys in the 12-17yo age range.

    Do these people seriously think your average boy is going to let a minor detail such as obtaining the parents credit card details is going to stop them?

  2. And, of course, random porn site owners are just the people to trust with your credit card number.

  3. Likely most of these sites will already require credit card details or adult verification in some form. And the kids are accessing them already – suggesting the kids won’t be stopped.

    Amusing how there’s little difference across generations – back in my teenage years we had access to videos, adult mags etc.

  4. Quiet_Man
    It isn’t going to work either, overseas sites hosting porn aren’t going to give a damn what the UK government wants…

    But that’s not the point. This falls in to the “something must be done and this is doing something” category and proves that we couldn’t live our lives without politicians.

    On a more general point I remember a letter in all the broad sheets some years ago when there was one of those regular moral panics about truancy. Someone wrote in saying that he wouldn’t employ anyone who hadn’t shown any spirit and played truant, or words to that effect.

    If this goes though it could be updated to I wouldn’t employ anyone who hadn’t shown the gumption to circumvent these controls.

  5. Dear Mr Worstall

    This merely illustrates that our beloved government is running out of things to legislate against.

    In next week’s news: Treading on cracks in pavement banned. Heavy penalties imposed.

    Another fine opportunity.

    DP

  6. “On a more general point I remember a letter in all the broad sheets some years ago when there was one of those regular moral panics about truancy. Someone wrote in saying that he wouldn’t employ anyone who hadn’t shown any spirit and played truant, or words to that effect.”

    I recently read something similar by someone looking to only hire people with 3rd class degrees. That being on theory that someone who scraped through meeting the minimum standard would be better equipped for the world than someone who swatted their way to a first.

  7. @David Moore

    The Great Wise-One said something similar but it was about a 2:1, but that could have been because that’s what our son got and she was hoping for a First and bragging rights over her sister.

  8. Do these people seriously think your average boy is going to let a minor detail such as obtaining the parents credit card details is going to stop them.

    They don’t need to. Free proxies, VPNs, TOR, etc, all of which the kids generally understand a whole lot better than their parents.

    Take just one web site, the pirate bay, and how much effort was made and how easily it is circumvented. And that’s just one site.

    Whatever some dipheads on the left may think, the state is no substitute for parents.

  9. BohB,

    Since I got my humble 2:1, the missus and our two sons have got first class honours. Having a PhD doesn’t help as one son has already got and the other is studying for one. I can’t even point to my degree being the most blessed, i.e. engineering, as the son with a PhD is an engineer. There are still two daughters without degrees but all in good time. I’ll just sit in the corner and keep quiet.

  10. As Quiet_Man says, this only affects UK sites. Which means all those people running porn in the “cottage industry” scale will be put out of business or forced to move abroad.

    (the credit card thing will stop people coming to the sites)

  11. Which means all those people running porn in the “cottage industry” scale will be put out of business or forced to move abroad.

    Unless one is hosting from home / residential (ie very cottage industry), hosting a site from an overseas (rather than a UK) web host provider is trivial and inexpensive?

  12. @ Stigler

    Yes, I understand what you are saying, but say – a web site called xxx.com, hosted out of Amsterdam for x dollars per month?

    Whatever else depends on the circumstances, so it’s difficult to pre-judge? The internet generally isn’t too fussed about geographic boundaries.

    I think my point is that these things are mainly for show, in that I think that people like Cameron really are daft enough to think that it buys them votes, rather than simply alienates / pisses off even more of what used to be a part of their core vote? That’s my take..

  13. The concept of placing in to conflict the ingenuity of the teenager seeking porn with the ability of corporates to determine who is or isn’t over 18 would be laughable in its naivety, even if the corporates wouldn’t be handicapped by the dead weight of bureaucratic regulation.

    Remember the kid who ordered a truck load of chocolate using a generated cc number?

  14. Given the great firewall of China can’t stop me getting on facebook, youtube or any porn site (as mentioned above just use a vpn) good luck to the British government stopping it. Clueless twats.

  15. This thread clearly proves, of course, that hideous ultra-neo-liberal Worstallistas all use porn to groom small kiddies.

    Otherwise how would they know how to do it!

    The Pedo-Finder General will be around as soon as he can get approval for all the business class flights.

  16. It isn’t going to work either, overseas sites hosting porn aren’t going to give a damn what the UK government wants…

    They’ll just dump it on the ISPs to enforce. Get ready for ISPs blocking all adult content a la Dubai, removed on production of verification of age from the customer.

  17. @ Tim Newman

    But the ISPs already contract with the adults…

    It’s the parents that sign up for the internet package, not the teenager..:)

    ISPs attempting to “enforce” this on each attempted web access – no chance..!!

  18. DP – “This merely illustrates that our beloved government is running out of things to legislate against. In next week’s news: Treading on cracks in pavement banned. Heavy penalties imposed. Another fine opportunity.”

    Actually this show what someone on Ace of Spades is calling Anarcho-Tyranny. Where the government is utterly incapable of doing what it is supposed to do and so is determined to minutely control everything it is not supposed to do.

    Can this government control the borders? No. Prevent terrorism? No. Deter crime? No. Educate the young? No. Defend the Realm? No. Run a sensible fiscal policy? No. Collect the taxes that are due in an orderly and timely fashion? More or less.

    So instead we have displacement activity – the middle class do not kick up a fuss, so legislate their lives.

    It is Byzantine really.

  19. This thing with kidz &the internet is beyond me. Would parents let their beloved offspring go play on the motorway?
    FFS! Computers are not toys. The internet isn’t a kiddies’ playground. It originated as a weapon. Being able to circumnavigate obstructions is integral to the system. It’s designed that way.
    It beats me there hasn’t been a KiddieNet evolved. There’s obviously a need for a totally separate environment. Except none of the oh so caring parents want to pay for one.

  20. SMFS,

    I’ve noticed that trend for some time. Because real criminals are hard work, it’s much easier to criminalise law abiding people and bang them up. Shocking child abuse goes un/lightly pushed, but apply some normal child raising discipline and you will be banged up and children rushed into care.

    You know the totalitarian state has arrived when everyone is guilty all the time and only carry on at the indulgence of the state.

  21. @ BIS
    “Computers are not toys. The internet isn’t a kiddies’ playground.”

    I agree, this is the crux of it.

    Real solutions involve parenting, not the illiterate tosh that is being proposed.

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