This Memorandum of Understanding provides a framework of objectives and content for “Connecting to Protect”, the inaugural 2021 “Global Virtual Summit”, and subsequent initiatives.
Connecting to Protect is for individuals and organizations interested in addressing children's access to online pornography, and who share a vision about the extent of the problem and the collaborative approach required to achieve solutions. The mental health and safety implications on children and young people accessing online pornography are multi-dimensional. We aim to provide countries throughout the world with an opportunity for representatives of many sectors to dialogue and create a coordinated global response. Implementing primary, secondary, and targeted public health prevention and education measures is imperative to avoid a worsening of the situation.
Connecting to Protect aims to align initiatives globally to protect children. Key areas of focus include research, legislation & policy solutions, technology & age verification solutions, education & awareness strategies across all sectors, and therapeutic protocols and strategies.
This MOU sets out beliefs that provide the foundation and framework for engagement with the Connecting to Protect initiatives.
Statement of Problem and Purpose
Connecting to Protect recognizes that unrestricted access to online pornography by children (17 years and younger):
promotes and exacerbates an already large and growing child protection crisis;
contributes to mental health issues, impacting children in terms of personal development, harmful sexual behaviours, and other consequences that demand a strategic response; and
is a matter of ubiquitous international significance.
With the unique challenges presented by current world events and the rise in children accessing pornography and being sexually exploited online, there has never been a more urgent time to unify and prioritize the mental health and safety consequences of children having unrestricted access to online pornography.
Agreed positions on issues
Contributing individuals and third-party entities take a similar position on the following:
While online pornography is produced for a paying audience that is comprised primarily of adults, the discussion and action focus will be on young people aged 17 or under. This summit will not address consenting adults’ consumption of pornography.
Online pornography can negatively impact children and young people at an individual level, and this leads to significant impacts at a societal level.
There is a growing body of scientific evidence showing that online pornography is contributing to childhood trauma and developmental issues; compulsion/depression/other mental health issues; sexual dysfunction; grooming/age of first exposure/normalizing harmful sexual behaviours; self-exploitation/sexting/technology-facilitated abuse, etc.; normalizing high-risk behaviours that put people at risk for sexually transmitted infections; child-on-child and peer-on-peer sexual abuse; child sexual exploitation/sex trafficking; sexism and objectification; sexual aggression and violence; family breakdowns; and other health problems.
It is an ethical expectation that those agreeing to this MOU will refrain from any collaborative or commercial dealings with any individual or entity actively and intentionally engaged in the promotion of pornography or the pornography industry.
Participating parties are welcome to contribute to open discussion and the application of scientific research and methods toward protecting children from the harms of accessing online pornography. We are seeking experts and others who can make a meaningful contribution to an execution strategy that will identify and effectively combat the negative impacts.
Our learnings from the inaugural 2021 Global Virtual Summit will inform a Global Action Plan – Strategic Response Report. The Summit will facilitate the provision of expert-led educational and collaborative sessions on strategic responses to protect children and young people from online pornography including:
Current Research, neuroscience, psychology, child protection, and sociology
Legislation and policy
Technology and age verification regimes
Education & awareness strategies across all sectors
Therapeutic protocols and strategies
Additional Goals of the Connecting to Protect Global Summit can be found here on our website.
There is no expectation that individuals and third-party entities will agree on issues outside of the focus of this MOU, nor does the MOU form any basis for financial obligations by either party.
While working together—leading up to, during and after the Global Summit—all signatories agree to be respectful toward each other.
Agreement with this MOU implies that the signatory will strive to reach the objectives stated in the MOU, to the best of their ability.