Officials will implement compulsory age verification checks on pornography viewed online in the UK next year in an attempt to make it harder for under-18s to be exposed to explicit material.
Digital minister Matt Hancock signed the commencement order for the Digital Economy Act to come into place in April, according to the BBC News.
The Act is yet to be finalised but outlines the requirement to prevent access to persons under the age of 18 if the material is not normally accessible by persons of that age, meaning websites will legally be required to install age verification systems.
Users may have to also provide credit card details to prove their age as you also have to be 18 to have a credit card in the UK.
This will be overseen by a regulator who will enforce the need for checks, and will have the power to fine or impose sanctions on websites or businesses who do not apply to the Act.
Netsafe says no such age checking systems are used in New Zealand, leaving under-18 Kiwis at risk of being exposed to pornography accidently or purposely.
They have a number of tips for parents worried about their children being exposed to such content:
- Install family friendly programs or filters that block out explicit material
- Being interested in what children are searching online and communicating openly
- Find support around what parents can do and psychological agencies they can turn to if their child is exposed.