UNICEF ran into a bit of controversy this week with the release of a report suggesting that there’s no evidence that children are harmed by exposure to pornography. The Center for Family and Human Rights sounded the alarm on this one, noting that UNICEF based its report on an EU study that showed 39 percent of Spanish children were happy after seeing pornography:

The 2020 EU Kids Online study compared survey findings from 19 European countries and found that in most countries, most children who saw sexual images online were neither upset nor happy (ranging from 27 percent in Switzerland to 72 percent in Lithuania); between 10 percent and 4 percent were fairly or very upset; and between 3 percent of children (in Estonia) and 39 percent (in Spain) reported feeling happy after seeing such images.

We don’t want to know how they conducted that study.

The section on pornography was part of a discussion paper titled, “Digital Age Assurance Tools and Children’s Rights Online across the Globe,” which does seem to have children’s interests at heart.

It does:

UNICEF says any efforts to block children from accessing pornography online might infringe on their human rights. UNICEF bases this claim on an expansive interpretation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

UNICEF also claims that asking for age-verification to access pornography online may deny children access to what it calls “vital sexuality education.” It should be noted that critics charge “comprehensive sexuality education” is pornographic and harmful to children.

The Center for Family and Human Rights, which reported on the initial report, says UNICEF took it down from its website and then republished a “carefully edited” version.

The UNICEF report admits that some research demonstrates that access to pornography at a young age is linked with certain “negative outcomes” but that “evidence suggests that children’s exposure to a certain degree of risk … helps them to build resilience.”

The report implies that determining what is harmful to children requires carefully balancing their right “to be protected online from sexual exploitation and abuse and from violence” against “their rights to privacy, freedom of expression … and access to information.”

Alex Jones was right?

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