Opinion on parental access restrictions by default for porn sites France 2019

On the occasion of the International Children's day that took place on November 20th 2019, the French President Emmanuel Macron explained that he wanted parents to gain more control over their children's use of digital technologies by changing the Internet operators voluntary process to install parental controls to an obligatory default setting. The head of the state then gave the Internet actors six months to propose robust solutions, after which a law would be passed to ensure them. When the general public of French parents were asked if they believed it was an essential measure, a total of 64 percent agreed, compared to 28 percent who stated that it was a useless measure.

First exposure to pornography

With the quick digital evolution, porn is free to access online and on all types of devices. Already in 2016, half porn viewers used their mobile phones to access these platforms. Reports of 2018 showed that the average age of exposure to pornographic content lied between the ages of 13 to 14 years, which goes in line with the age at which French children receive their first smartphone. This does pose a problem for concerned parents who worry about how to make sure their kids don't get in trouble online, as most of now adults thought they were too young and too shocked, when exposed to porn for the first time. Even though default control settings are seen as an advantage to control the exposure to sensitive content on the Internet, 84 percent expressed that it is the parent's role to manage the restriction. Others (58 percent) mentioned the importance for Internet operators to install protection measures.

Role of parents and institutions

As of 2019, many believe adult websites should be prohibited before the age of 16 to 18: 37 percent of French people stated that access to adults content should be paid for, where even 14 percent rooted for their ban.
Along the same line, parents in Sweden have expressed the concern about restricting pornographic contents in networks over which they have no control over. According to them, schools, after school care and pre-schools are institutions who should have filters against those types of sites. What parents themselves can do is have an open discussion about porn.
Apart from geolocation services that are able to track every movement of a person or a child as a real-world security measure, in terms of protecting a child from online threats, there are other tools that monitor all the photos, emails, and text messages a child sends or receives and alert parents at the first abnormal sign.

But when do you cross the line between parental duty and the police?

Parent opinion on the parental control restrictions by default for adult websites set by the French President in 2019*

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Release date

December 2019



Survey time period

November 27-28, 2019

Number of respondents

1,008 respondents

Age group

18 years and older

Method of interview

Online omnibus survey

Supplementary notes

* The question was phrased by the source as follows: "A l'occasion de la journée internationale des droits de l'enfant, Emmanuel Macron vient d'annoncer qu'il laissait 6 mois aux opérateurs pour mettre en place le contrôle parental par défaut. Dans quelle mesure êtes-vous d'accord, ou non, avec les affirmations suivantes ?"

Only one answer was possible.

Missing or exceding percentage points to 100 percent are probably due to rounding.

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Statistics on "Internet usage in France "

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