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Government acts of porn access

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THE UK will become the first country in the world to bring in age-verification for online pornography when the measures come into force on July 15, 2019.

It means that commercial providers of online pornography will be required by law to carry out robust age-verification checks on users, to ensure that they are 18 or over. The move is backed by 88% of UK parents with children aged 7-17, who agree there should be robust age-verification controls in place to stop children seeing pornography online.

Websites that fail to implement age-verification technology face having payment services withdrawn or being blocked for UK users.

The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will be responsible for ensuring compliance with the new laws. They have confirmed that they will begin enforcement on 15 July, following an implementation period to allow websites time to comply with the new standards.

UK Minister for Digital Margot James said: “Adult content is currently far too easy for children to access online. The introduction of mandatory age-verification is a world-first, and we’ve taken the time to balance privacy concerns with the need to protect children from inappropriate content. We want the UK to be the safest place in the world to be online, and these new laws will help us achieve this.”

Government has listened carefully to privacy concerns and is clear that age-verification arrangements should only be concerned with verifying age, not identity. In addition to the requirement for all age-verification providers to comply with General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) standards, the BBFC have created a voluntary certification scheme, the Age-verification Certificate (AVC), which will assess the data security standards of AV providers. The AVC has been developed in cooperation with industry, with input from the government.

Certified age-verification solutions which offer these robust data protection conditions will be certified following an independent assessment and will carry the BBFC’s new green ‘AV’ symbol. Details will also be published on the BBFC’s age-verification website, ageverificationregulator.comso consumers can make an informed choice between age-verification providers.

BBFC Chief Executive David Austin said: “The introduction of age-verification to restrict access to commercial pornographic websites to adults is a groundbreaking child protection measure. Age-verification will help prevent children from accessing pornographic content online and means the UK is leading the way in internet safety.

“On entry into force, consumers will be able to identify that an age-verification provider has met rigorous security and data checks if they carry the BBFC’s new green ‘AV’ symbol.”

The change in the law is part of the Government’s commitment to making the UK the safest place in the world to be online, especially for children. It follows last week’s publication of the Online Harms White Paper which set out clear responsibilities for tech companies to keep UK citizens safe online, how these responsibilities should be met and what would happen if they are not.

CEO of Internet Matters Carolyn Bunting said: “We are delighted to see the government tackling the issue of online pornography. Children seeing online content for which they’re not emotionally ready can be very damaging, especially if they don’t speak out about it.

“While our research shows that parents overwhelmingly support age-verification and are confident it will make a difference, we must recognise that digital solutions aren’t the only answer and parents can’t become complacent about their child’s digital world.

“There is no substitute to having regular and honest conversations with your child about what they’re getting up to online, establishing an open dialogue about their digital life from a young age.”

Will Gardner, CEO of Childnet said: “We hope that the introduction of this age-verification will help in protecting children, making it harder for young people to accidentally come across online pornography, as well as bringing in the same protections that we use offline to protect children from age-restricted goods or services.

“Talking to children is vital and education has a major part to play here, and we need to ensure all young people are given a platform to discuss the pressures they face online and have the skills to spot and understand the gap between perception and reality. We are releasing a new extended PSHE toolkit later this month to address the issue of online pornography along with related topics of body image and healthy relationships.

“We know that conversations with young people, parents and carers and teachers are paramount to giving children the information, support and skills that they need.”

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Willy make the council fix the road?

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DRIVERS in and around the Maenclochog area are still recovering today after a hardened vandal spray-painted yellow penises along a stretch of road near Morvil.
The road, just off the B4313, was targeted with graffiti because of the number of potholes scattered along it’s length.
Locals have dubbed the cock-sure artist as ‘Wanksy’ and have discovered that whoever drew the penises also wrote ‘Follow the yellow d### road’.
Some of the penises have been drawn around more sizeable potholes, but simply pointing disapprovingly at the smaller ones.
If you want to report a pothole, the chosen method is still via the Pembrokeshire County Council website.
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‘Learning needs’ offered support through new website

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A NEW website, providing help and information for parents, teachers and professionals involved in supporting children and young people with Additional Learning Needs (ALN), has been launched in Pembrokeshire.

Run by the County Council’s Inclusion Service, the website is divided into four main sections headed:

  • Support and Provision for ALN
  • Parent Partnership Services
  • Resources
  • Pupil Voice and Wellbeing

The website contains information for families about local events, parent networks and drop-ins providing the opportunity to meet with local support teams of specialists.

It also tells the touching story of Eliza and her inspiring journey as she began her schooling in Johnston Primary under the headship of Gareth Jones.

Other local young people such as Freya, Jack, Siana, Mair and Jamie are also featured and have important stories to tell on what is important to them in overcoming dyspraxia, dyslexia and autism

Many of them attended the launch in County Hall, Haverfordwest, on Wednesday (May 15) along with Scarlet’s rugby players, Simon Gardiner – himself dyslexic – and Josh Helps.

The County Council’s new Cabinet Member for Education and Lifelong Learning, Guy Woodham, described how proud he was of the remarkable achievements of the children and young people in Pembrokeshire with additional needs.

He said he was especially pleased to learn that the outcomes for children and young people with ALN were consistently higher in the County than over half of the local authorities in Wales over the last two and three years.

Councillor Woodham added: “This website in an invaluable tool and provides professionals and families with a wide range of early screening, classroom strategies, resources as well as things that can help in the home.”

Nicola Jones, the Council’s Head of Inclusion, Disability and Wellbeing, said that early identification and intervention strategies had allowed the Authority to make significant strides in meeting the needs of youngster with ALN.

She said: “With the joined up offer of support and provision in schools, it means more children’s needs are being met within the classroom.
“There are now 24 per cent of learners with additional needs compared to 31% in 2012, with only 8 per cent compared to 18 per cent with complex needs.”

Describing his own experience, Haverfordwest-born rugby prop forward Simon said: “Teachers didn’t really understand my dyslexia when I was at school. They thought I was naughty or just wasn’t trying. I really loved maths and science, but when it came to putting anything on paper, I really struggled.

“If teachers had more understanding of dyslexia, they would have been able to help me more. That’s why this website is a good thing, because there is a lot of information there.

“I would especially recommend this website to parents. It’s a great way to point them in the right direction to get advice and find out more. Now teachers seem to know more about dyslexia and what to look for.”

The Council’s Chief Executive, Ian Westley added that although he recognised the Authority had one of the highest rates of exclusion, he was delighted that already the new approach was having a significant impact in reducing that number.

The website address is: https://pembsinclusionservice.wales/

To speak to someone directly about your child’s additional needs, contact the helpline on 01437 776354 or email pps@pembrokeshire.gov.uk

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RNLI lifeguards return to Welsh beaches

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RNLI lifeguards will be returning to their posts across Wales from Saturday (25 May) to offer safety advice and assistance over the May half term.

The charity’s lifeguards will be on the following beaches to welcome those enjoying the half term holidays on the Welsh coast:

Denbighshire – Rhyl and Prestatyn.
Ceredigion – Borth, Aberystwyth North, Llangrannog, New Quay Harbour, Aberporth.
Pembrokeshire – Tenby South, Newgale Central, Whitesands
Carmarthenshire – Pembrey
Swansea – Langland, Caswell, Port Eynon, Three Cliffs Bay.
Neath and Port Talbot – Aberavon.
Vale of Glamorgan – Whitmore Bay
Bridgend – Rest Bay, Trecco Bay, Coney / Sandy Bay

A lifeguarding service will be provided everyday between 10am-6pm over the school half term. The lifeguard’s role is to advise, supervise and rescue those in trouble on the beach or in the water.

Joanna Price, RNLI Area Lifesaving Manager said: “The lifeguards have all completed their intense training in the sunshine over the past few weeks and are looking forward to returning to beaches across Wales this weekend. Hopefully you won’t need the lifeguards help, but by visiting a lifeguarded beach you get the peace of mind and reassurance that expert advice and assistance is available if needed. The lifeguards’ work is to advise, supervise and rescue those who need help on the beach or in the water.

“When visiting a lifeguarded beach always make sure to bathe between the red and yellow flags. This area is closely monitored by the lifeguards throughout the day. The flags are set out daily and moved depending on the state of the tide by the lifeguard team.

“We want people to enjoy the coastline and therefore urge people to respect the water and take extra care when visiting the coast, by taking some basic precautions. Plan your activity – check the weather and tide conditions before going to sea, and make sure your equipment is all in working order.

“Carry a means of calling for help should something go wrong. If you see someone in trouble please don’t attempt the rescue yourself, alert a lifeguard or call 999 and ask for the Coastguard.”

For a full detailed list of lifeguard service dates in Wales as well as further safety advice please visit the RNLI website rnli.org.uk.

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