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OPINION: Pros and Cons of the PAVE Act

The Pornography Age Verification Enforcement (PAVE) act took effect on Jan. 1 to restrict and/or discourage the consumption of porn, explained Pierce Burns in his article about the North Carolina porn restriction. The PAVE act requires that pornography platforms implement a more effective approach at verifying the age of the website’s users. Burns explained that this act was passed with the intention of discouraging “underage pornography consumption.” Large porn sites, like Pornhub, have blocked users in North Carolina from accessing their website entirely and have released official statements regarding concerns for ensuring “the safety of [their] users.”

Upon finding out about the PAVE act, my initial concern was about the safety of internet users who are trying to access adult content. In their official statement, Pornhub mentioned that forcing users to provide their ID card “is not the most effective solution” for restricting minors from accessing porn websites but instead puts users in a vulnerable situation by sharing their personal information. Another solution that was proposed for age verification was to recognize users by their device. I find this solution, much like providing one’s ID, to be very invasive to the privacy of the users. On the other hand, I think this act is infringing on the rights of netizens to engage in adult content by creating restrictive barriers that limit their ability to do so. The act has seemingly done nothing to incorporate safety measures for porn consumers and within the porn industry but has instead prompted internet users to look for unrestricted and less secure websites that can be more harmful than those that are being regulated. 

Another concern about the PAVE act is that it is further restricting access to different forms of sexual education. Some will make the valid argument that porn is not and should not be considered an adequate form of sex education, to which I agree. However, considering the current state of sexual education in North Carolina, I would say that porn may be the only way that some can learn about their bodies. According to the Sexuality Information and Education Council for the United States (SIECUS), North Carolina schools are required to teach sexual education, however, the curriculum is not required to be comprehensive and must explain the benefits of abstinence. Because of this, along with local control over sex education, there have been varying degrees of sex education within the North Carolina school system that has left students without a sufficient understanding of the reproductive system, contraceptives, STDs, and consent. In addition to this, other legislation has been passed that restrict schools from educating students on sexual orientation and gender identity which has been counteractive to providing inclusive sexual education. From my knowledge on childhood development and human sexuality, I feel that depriving adolescents of comprehensive and inclusive sex education can lead to risky sexual behavior among the youth. Porn does not only display the human body but also may include contraceptives like condoms that prevent pregnancy and the spread of STDs. 

Despite the cons of the PAVE act, I do think that it is important that children are not exposed to adult content unwillingly. I think that access to porn websites is incredibly easy and puts children at risk of developing dangerous sexual behaviors that are displayed in porn. For instance, many porn videos exhibit violence against women and promote harmful ideas of traditional gender roles in which women are deemed inferior and subservient to men. I also think that it is important for children and adults alike to understand that porn is scripted and performed by professional sex workers. Children exposed to porn may have trouble differentiating reality from the fictional representation of sex for entertainment purposes. It is because of this that I feel the main concern should be about improving the quality of sex education rather than limiting access to secure porn websites. 

By: Elaina Irving, Staff Writer

Graphics by Shae-Lynn Henderson and Elaina Irving

1 comment

1 Comment

This is an awesome article and I’m impressed that you keep up with current events.

Honestly I think it boils down to money like every thing else. The porn industry does not generate income for the state. If they cared so much about kids then why do we now have legal online sports gambling? Online sports betting has generated other states billions of dollars and NC wants a piece of that pie!

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