The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) has come under criticism after it has released a report which says exposure to pornography may not always be harmful to children because it prepares some of them for adulthood.
The controversial report which talks about how government policy can be used to protect children from harmful, abusive and violent content online stressed that there is no conclusive evidence that children exposed to pornography are harmed in any way due to the exposure.
UNICEF drew its conclusion based on a report which says 39 percent of Spanish children were happy after seeing pornography.
The report has triggered reactions across the globe with many Child Rights activists disagreeing vehemently with UNICEF.
Lisa Thompson, vice president and director of the Research Institute at the National Center on Sexual Exploitation has been quoted by C-fam.org as saying: “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.”
“Mainstream pornography contains horrific sexual abuse, rape, incest, racism – all of which children should not consume. UNICEF’s milquetoast assessment of the impacts hardcore pornography on children does nothing to challenge the political narrative that pornography is benign, and as a result, puts children in harm’s way.”
Thompson’s organization provides expert research to inform policy decisions to end the sexual abuse and exploitation of women and children.
The UNICEF report, argues that blocking children from accessing pornography online might infringe on their human rights, citing the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The UN agency added that asking for age verification to access pornography online may deny children access to “vital sexuality education.”
The release of this controversial report comes just days after the U.S. Agency for International Development announced the renewal of its longstanding partnership with UNICEF, committing an additional $300 million in direct program funding. The U.S. is UNICEF’s largest government donor with 2020 funding reaching almost $994 million in humanitarian and development programs, C-fam.org reports.