Pa. Lawmaker Introduces Bill to Block Explicit Content on Children's Devices
HARRISBURG, Pa. (ErieNewsNow) - For parents across the country, keeping tabs on what their children are exposed to on devices is a difficult task. More states are looking to protect children by cracking down on explicit content.
In today’s digital age, anybody can find almost anything online. That includes explicit sexual content.
“When young people see it, compare it to a dump truck stuck in the mud spinning its wheels, watching it over and over and over again,” said State Representative Jim Gregory (R-Blair/Huntingdon).
Gregory says most people agree that exposure to explicit material is detrimental for children. That’s why he’s re-introducing legislation to fight it. House Bill 1501, known as the “Protection of Minors from Unfiltered Devices Act,” would require new smart phones and tablets activated in Pennsylvania to have a filter for children under the age of 18.
“It provides cell phone manufacturers direction to put blockers on phones with a code that prevents minors from having access to explicit materials without a parent or guardian using the code to remove the blocker. It can be put back on, it can be taken back off,” said Gregory.
Bill Stauffer with Pennsylvania Recovery Organizations Alliance (PRO-A) says he supports the legislation because accessing explicit material at a young, vulnerable age can result in problems down the road.
“Protecting children from what's occurring in the media is critically important,” said Stauffer. "I was raised in an era before this media and I actually don't think that a lot of middle-aged adults understand what kids can access. Paying close attention to what kids are getting into, the screen time that they're engaging in and then the types of things they're looking at are really, really important,” he added.
Stauffer and Gregory both say that having open dialogue about an often-secluded issue, is crucial.
“It's just so important that adults know all kinds of things that kids have access to and have discussions with them about some of the risks of these things,” said Stauffer.
"We put these legislative proposals out there because then conversation starts. Without it, where is the conversation,” said Gregory.
HB 1501 is waiting for consideration in the House Consumer Protection, Technology and Utilities Committee.