Tennessee Legislators Looking At Bill To Require Age Verification For Pornographic Websites

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The Tennessee Conservative Staff –

Tennesseans looking to visit pornographic websites may soon have to show government-issued identification to prove that they are at least 18 years of age.

When Republicans return to the capitol for their regular session next January, lawmakers will consider legislation that would require that adult websites implement age verification. This is part of an ongoing effort to protect children from sexual content found online.

In an email released earlier this month, Republican Caucus press secretary Jennifer Easton stated that the plan is part of “several ideas in ongoing discussions by House Republicans about what can be done legislatively to protect the innocence and safety of children.”

“Our members remain vigilant and will continue to bring good ideas forward in this effort,” Easton said.

A number of other states have already passed age verification laws, including Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Utah and Louisiana, amidst continued debates over free speech and digital privacy.

Free Speech Coalition – a nonprofit organization that represents adult entertainers and other industry groups – has brought lawsuits against the states with mixed results.

In August, a federal judge upheld the law in Utah pushing sites like PornHub to opt to block access altogether while other sites are using third-party age verification providers. 

A judge in Texas, however, blocked the attorney general from enforcing the law, determining that it is a violation of free speech. 

Louisiana is currently facing a lawsuit. They were the first state to require government-issued ID for adult sites. 

The Louisiana law that went into effect in January has led many sites to use a digital wallet application that keeps a copy of the resident’s driver’s license on file.

In her research, RN Pediatric Nurse, Conni Leonessa, has found that porn use changes a child’s brain. According to author and speaker Josh McDowell, nicotine takes 7 seconds to reach the brain, alcohol 6 minutes, heroin 15 seconds, and porn half a second. When a person is exposed to these substances or situations, dopamine, a neurotransmitter, is released. Dopamine is the “feel good” chemical. It is responsible for feelings of desire and reward. Viewing porn causes a 200% spike in dopamine – equivalent to a shot of morphine. Children’s immature brains don’t know how to process this. Because of this, children are much more likely to become addicted. A child’s prefrontal cortex, the area of judgment and impulse control, is not fully developed until approximately age 25. A child is more likely to “act out” what he or she has seen and typically acts out on younger children.

Researcher Lacy Bentley found that 80% of children exposed to porn will look for more. Dr. John Foubert’s research found that by ages 8-11, 93% of boys and 63% of girls have been exposed. Josh McDowell, in a conference given in 2018, stated that 47 million porn videos are viewed daily by children in the U.S. and there are no age restrictions to access porn except for the few states who care enough about children to put the restrictions in place.

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