WASHINGTON – Senator Mike Lee introduced the Shielding Children's Retinas from Egregious Exposure on the Net (SCREEN) Act, a step toward safeguarding minors from the pervasive threat of online pornographic content. Representative Mary Miller (R-IL) spearheads the companion bill in the House of Representatives.
Despite Congress's ongoing efforts over the past three decades to shield children from online pornography, prior legislative measures have been challenged and overturned by the Supreme Court on the grounds of not meeting the least restrictive means test. Nonetheless, the Court acknowledged the government's compelling interest to protect children.
Advancements in technology since the Supreme Court last addressed this matter reveal a stark reality: traditional methods like blocking and filtering software have fallen short, leaving an alarming 80% of teenagers exposed to online pornography. The repercussions on minors are profound, contributing to a spectrum of psychological issues, unhealthy sexual behaviors, and broader societal harms.
Senator Lee's SCREEN Act is a necessary evolution of the law, aligning technological progress with the government's duty to protect children. The Act mandates commercial pornographic websites to implement robust age verification technologies, providing a pragmatic and narrowly tailored solution to a complex problem.
Of the bill, Senator Mike Lee said, "It is time for our laws to catch up with technology. We must ensure that as the internet grows and changes, the safety of children is not left behind. The SCREEN Act addresses the urgent need to protect minors from exposure to online pornography and stop those who profit from stealing the innocence of America's youth."
Of the bill, Representative Mary Miller said, “As a mother of seven and grandmother to 20, I am committed to defending parental rights. I am proud to join Senator Mike Lee in introducing the SCREEN Act to the House, providing parents with more control over their children's online access and protecting our kids from exposure to pornography. I urge my colleagues in the House to act swiftly in adopting the SCREEN Act to protect American children.”
The bill has garnered support from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, Culture Reframed, National Decency Coalition, Enough Is Enough, and Envoc.