Generation Z: “UK Government must do more to protect children from accessing online p**n”
January 2020 by Marc Jacob
Those in Generation Z (born after 1995) are used to easily accessing everything from social media to gambling online. Even porn is only a few taps away. But new research from IDEX Biometrics ASA shows that nearly two-thirds (62%) of Generation Z don’t think the UK Government is doing enough to protect children from accessing adult content.
Results show that instead of revelling in today’s internet ‘Wild West’, young consumers are demanding the Government do more to protect children from inappropriate online content, especially porn.
This concern seemingly comes from past negative experiences, as only 12% of respondents aged 18 or over had never accessed content they shouldn’t have while underage, including gaming, gambling, social or adult sites. In fact, more than half of these respondents (56%) admit to accessing adult sites or apps while they were underage. Nearly a third (30%) were less than 14 years old when they first accessed porn.
Importantly, more than one-in-ten (11%) of those who viewed adult content underage admit they now regret accessing these sites, while a further 10% state they were traumatised by what they saw. These concerns have led those in Generation Z to want to shield the next generation from repeating that experience: 70% believe it’s important to protect children from accessing porn.
These findings come just three months after the UK Government dropped its planned ‘porn block’ to protect children from adult content online. But, 64% of Generation Z believe the Government needs to do more to improve ID verification online. Therefore it’s clear that young consumers expect to see stronger age authentication online to address the concerns of the largest wave of internet users.
Notably, Generation Z is also embracing new forms of technology to take care of themselves, and younger generations, online. More than half (53%) of all respondents believe biometrics such as fingerprints should be used to protect underage children from accessing online porn— this is even higher among 16-17-year olds (80%). The findings also show that Generation Z believe in this new biometric solution so much they’re willing to pay for the security it provides. Four-in-ten (40%) of those in Generation Z would be happy to pay for an identity card with fingerprint protection.
“This research shows Generation Z is increasingly concerned about online safety and welcome biometric technology as a solution to underage access to potentially harmful websites. Fingerprint authorisation offers a secure and convenient way for consumers to verify their age and make sure they can browse the internet safely,” comments David Orme, SVP, IDEX Biometrics ASA.
Interestingly, it’s not just adult content that young users want to see restricted. Social media, gaming and gambling sites are also highlighted by young users as being in need of age verification. Nearly two-thirds (62%) of Generation Z think the Government should do more to protect children from accessing social media underage, while 80% believe it’s important to protect under 18s from online gambling.
Methodology and sample:
1,096 interviews were conducted in the UK by Arlington Research, an independent market research agency, using an online methodology among a nationally representative sample of consumers from Generation Z. All respondents were aged 16-24. Questions about viewing adult content were only asked to respondents aged 18+. Quotas were applied to gender of the respondent and the region in which they reside, to ensure that the sample is nationally representative of that age group.