Any government moves to restrict the flow of information should be viewed with concern.
When Department of Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin says she wants censorship laws strengthened, this should make all of us sit up and take notice.
The reason for Martin's proposed clampdown is young people being "bombarded" by internet pornography.
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"This is a really, really big issue to New Zealand and we are going to have a serious conversation about it," Martin told the Herald this week.
"I hope to make sure we have this conversation in this term of government."
New Zealand censorship laws ban some types of pornography, such as material which includes violence, rape or degrading acts. But the Office of Film and Literature Classification 's work is still mostly limited to DVDs released in New Zealand. Online pornography is effectively unregulated.
Internet services remain largely unmonitored and unrestricted in many of our homes, despite irrefutable evidence that exposing young people to the wrong material causes harm.
Dr Sharon Cooper, a developmental and forensic paediatrician from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, says pornography normalises sexual harm by portraying a lack of emotional relationship between consensual partners, unprotected sexual contact, and, in some instances, violence and rape.
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Adults may be able to discern fantasy scenarios from reality but children do not. Such viewing experiences can also hamper the ability to form healthy relationships and can ultimately lead to compulsive behaviour and addiction.
It's not easy to do, but it can be done.
This year, the UK Government recently dropped age verification requirements for online pornography, but still plans an internet regulator to impose duty of care on all websites and social media.
"It's certainly not an easy thing to implement, socially or technologically," New Zealand's Chief Censor David Shanks says of the UK moves.
"It's just worth paying attention to ... to see if gets traction or not."
It should be supported to find traction here. We restrict alcohol, driving and other activities for public safety reasons. Staunching this unimpeded flow of objectionable and distressing content to young eyes and minds is important for our nation's wellbeing.