Jocelyn Thomas and Kris Potter, of the Primary Prevention committee, a sub-committee of Chilliwack Child and Youth Committee, were at city hall Tuesday pitching an effort to Child Proof Porn. (Jennifer Feinberg/ The Progress)

Crusade to prevent kids from accessing internet porn pitched in Chilliwack

Pair came to city hall to ask council to help clamp down on unsecured wifi and porn access

A campaign to “child-proof porn” by locking down unsecured wireless networks could kick off in Chilliwack before going nationwide — if there is enough buy-in.

Two members of the Primary Prevention committee, a sub-committee of Chilliwack Child and Youth Committee (CYC), were at city hall Tuesday pitching that bold idea to council.

“We are not on a crusade against porn,” Jocelyn Thomas, a Primary Prevention committee member of the CYC. “We are not against sex. In fact our committee took a vote … and we recommend it!” she added with a laugh. “We are on a crusade not to let porn be the default sex educator for our society.”

The two were at city hall seeking support for securing wireless access sites after finding out many public places and businesses around Chilliwack have unsecured wifi, where degrading and violent porn can be accessed by any kid with a cell phone.

A B.C. Adolescent Health Survey showed that 12 per cent of teens with a phone in 2018 “used their device” at school to watch pornography.

Locking down access and instituting parental controls and content filtering over the household wifi is one way.

“We think businesses and public places also need to find ways to block porn sites,” Thomas continued. “We think porn should be accessed through third-party authentication. We call this child proofing porn.”

The committee’s research indicated that unsecured wifi connections could be accessed at the Leisure Centre, as well as some government and health agency locations, and popular businesses. City officials checked on the Leisure Centre wifi situation, and confirmed after the meeting, that it was not the City of Chilliwack wifi that was unsecured, however but that of a nearby business.

Next steps of the committee will include contacting businesses to request that they restrict their wifi.

“We need allies to help make this a national issue,” Thomas said. “We know that jurisdictions in the U.K. are bringing in nationwide third party authentication. People can access porn but they have to produce ID proving they are over the age of majority.”

She pointed out that Chilliwack was just selected to host a ‘Cities Fit for Children’ conference.

“Could there be a better issue to identify Chilliwack as a city fit for children than to have a national campaign to child proof porn begin right here?” Thomas asked. “I guess you and we hold the answer to that. Our committee would be happy to meet with council if you would like to push foward through the Union of B.C. Municipalities.”

The presentation was received by council, with Mayor Ken Popove commenting: “Well said and with good information.”

Coun. Bud Mercer said he was not surprised but he was “still shocked,” to hear about the free access.

“Is it epidemic?”

Thomas said she didn’t want to call out the name of the businesses.

Coun. Jason Lum said it was correct to call the challenge an “epidemic,” as someone who works in the information tech industry.

“Society as a whole needs to take it seriously,” he said, adding that something is needed to balance the public’s increasing need demand for wireless access as a right.

It could be “robust content filtering” as part of the answer.

Coun. Jeff Shields said he thought there must be a number of businesses “who have no idea that’s what people are using their wifi for,” and he thanked the presenters for bringing it to the city’s attention.

READ MORE: Unmasking porn in Chilliwack


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Deltassist takes over operation of North Delta food bank

Gore Mutual Foundation has pledged to match up all cash donations to the food bank before April 30

Young Muslims offer helping hand to isolated residents throughout Lower Mainland

Neighbourhood Helper campaign aims to get help to people who can’t leave their homes

White Rock’s promenade to close to the public

Public access to popular waterfront walkway closing April 10: city

Urban Safari Rescue Society starts online video presentations

Animal shelter struggling to stay afloat during pandemic

Christopherson Steps, 1,001 Steps closed due to COVID-19

Access restricted to Crescent Beach over Easter weekend, City of Surrey announces

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

B.C. sorting medical equipment sales, donation offers for COVID-19

Supply hub has call out for masks, gowns, coronavirus swabs

B.C. records five more deaths due to COVID-19, 45 new cases

A total of 838 people have recovered from the virus

Major crimes investigating sudden death of North Okanagan child

The 8 year old was flown to Kelowna General Hospital and died hours later

BC institution has highest number of positive results for COVID-19

11 inmates in Mission test positive for coronavirus, more than any other federal prison in Canada

Easter Bunny added to B.C.’s list of essential workers

Premier John Horgan authorizes bunny to spread “eggs-ellent cheer” throughout province

Travellers returning to B.C. must have self-isolation plan or face quarantine: Horgan

Premier John Horgan says forms must be filled out by travellers

More than 400 animals have been adopted amid pandemic: B.C. SPCA

People are taking this time of social distancing to find a loyal companion through the animal welfare group

Most Read