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Winston Armani, KSL TV

Grassroots campaign to help protect kids from porn on social media

By Dan Rascon, KSL TV | Posted - Mar 26th, 2019 @ 9:28pm



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SALT LAKE CITY — A grassroots campaign is going after social media giants Instagram and Snapchat, saying it’s time to police their rating system of 12+, because teens have too easy access to porn.

The campaign will be rolled out on Thursday by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in Washington D.C., but many behind the movement are right here in Utah.

"These app ratings are messed up and you can’t go by the app ratings," said Collin Kartchner who is a very popular social media activist speaking to thousands of teens across the state and country. "You can stream porn in two clicks and these apps are rated at 12+. This is like you sending your kid to a PG-13 movie saying, 'Oh, they'll be fine.' And 2 seconds into it they are watching pornography. Parents, if that happened in the movie system we would be outraged, but it’s happening on their phones all day."

That’s why he’s joining forces with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation on its rollout of Fixappratings.com.

“We just want the same kind of accountability systems that have been put into place for video games or for movies, where there is an independent review board that just makes sure apps are correctly being rated," said Hailey Halverson, vice president of advocacy and outreach with the NCSE. "Really what we want is just greater transparency so that parents and families can make informed decisions."

Utah state Sen. Todd Weiler, R-Woods Cross, is behind the campaign. He’s written an op-ed on the Fix App Ratings website to show his support and he’s signed on dozens of lawmakers in Utah to show support for the movement.

“I was shocked, I was really shocked,” Weiler said about the ease to access porn on Instagram and Snapchat after meeting with campaign organizers. “There’s a danger out here and we want to kind of motivate this industry to start doing some self-policing.”

Both Instagrama and Snapchat have told KSL TV that they have a zero tolerance policy for porn on their sites and they are doing everything they can to keep it off. But those behind this campaign say it's not working and that's why something needs to be done.

For more information on the campaign and website go to www.fixappratings.com.

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