If you're a parent from the UK, or from anywhere in the world really, this is something you should know.

An alarming new study on free porn site access has come out - and this involves primary school children.

The study shows that in December 2013, 44,000 primary school children visited an adult website through a laptop or PC. These children are 6 to 11 years old. The statistics swelled to 200,000 for 6 to 15 years old children and doubled to 473,000 for 6 to 17 years old children -- which only goes to show that one in 20 UK visitors of porn sites in that period is an underage individual. 

"These findings expose the scale of the problem of child access to pornography on adult websites operated from outside the UK," said chair Ruth Evans of Authority for Television On Demand.

ATVOD is a video-on-demand regulator that delivers most-authoritative scenario yet established of the exposure of children and young people to "R18" classification or simply called adult material. An R18 classification means a restriction to buyers or viewers below 18 years old because of the portrayal of many real sex acts rather than simulated ones.

ATVOD contracted Nielsen Netview for the research data, with the latter having media tracking specialists worldwide who perform behavior analysis of users online.

The researchers of the study tracked the actions of children and teenagers who used the Internet in December 2013, either through a laptop or desktop, instead of relying on what these children or teenagers told they did online. The panel of users included about 45,000 Internet users from the UK. Users of tablet, smartphone or other handheld devices were not part of the research though due to technical limitations.

"Even without taking account of access from mobile devices - a substantial slice of the user base according to operators - the UK is clearly a significant market for the online adult industry," said ATVOD chief executive Peter Johnson.

Problem is, majority of the offshore adult sites remain unregulated, thus providing free access of hardcore porn to all types and ages of visitors. Of the 25 adult sites considered most-often accessed from the UK, 23 sites are among those unregulated. Of the 1,266 adult websites identified in the research as visited by UK users, only one adult service is UK-regulated.

The study specifically mentions one website, Pornhub.com, said to have 112,000 UK male visitors aged 12 to 17 years old via laptop or PC in the said period. The said website is a free and unrestricted porn site to hardcore images and videos of real sex.

The ATVOD report said the release of such study will further push for calls to urgently address the problem and bring about changes in the current law and measures for child's online safety. If legislation to support the action were pushed, this will also motivate the big players in the payments industry, namely electronic payment processors and credit card providers, who have earlier indicated their willingness to stop the flow of cash to these adult sites allowing access to children.

"Cutting off that flow of funds to services which allow children to view hardcore porn would provide a powerful incentive for porn websites to put in place effective age verification and access control mechanisms in order to restart the flow of funds from the UK. It would not affect the free services directly - because by definition they do not charge users -  but it would undermine the business model on which they depend.  Deprived of the money which flows to the underlying pay sites, the tube sites simply could not exist," Johnson emphasized.

Evans though admitted that they do not advocate censorship.

"There is nothing in the ATVOD Rules which interferes with the right to provide sexually explicit material to an adult online.  But pornography is a product which is produced and designed for use by adults, not children. That is why the industry that makes and sells it calls itself 'the adult industry.'  There cannot be any justification for UK providers of sexually explicit pornographic material to make such images available to under 18s. The law requires that UK on demand services keep such material out of reach of minors and we are committed to ensuring that UK providers of video on demand services comply with the statutory rules. But we have no control over services that come from outside the UK," Evans also explained.

UK-based adult producer Ben Yates, however, criticized and refuted the impending moves of ATVOD.

"Surely before any other ham-fisted policies or legislation is introduced ATVOD she be made to explore a different approach. I think they'll find it is a lot more complex than 'we need more power to do our job' and actually access and consumption of pornography is more indicative of social, cultural and personal problems that cannot simply be fixed by a limp-firewall or law," he wrote on the Sex and Censorship blog.

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