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Pope Francis presses tech companies to block kids' access to porn

CBSN Originals: How porn is affecting kids

Vatican City — Pope Francis is demanding that technology companies remove child pornography from the web and prevent children from accessing porn online.

Francis told a Vatican conference of religious leaders and high-tech representatives Thursday that it's no longer acceptable to merely follow the law in monitoring online content, since technology is fast outpacing regulation.

"The dramatic growth of pornography in the digital world is, in itself, most serious, the fruit of a general loss of the sense of human dignity. Frequently it is linked to human trafficking," he said in a speech Thursday at a conference in Rome. "What makes this phenomenon even more disturbing is the fact that this material is widely accessible even to minors via the internet, especially through mobile devices."

Francis said companies must assume moral responsibility for protecting young people from what he said were the ruinous effects of pornography on their emotional and sexual development. 

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The pontiff also said parents are struggling to control children's use of electronic devices and urged the tech industry to work with families to limit access to in appropriate material, including by identifying an internet user's age and through the use of artificial intelligence.

"A fitting balance must be found between the legitimate exercise of freedom of expression and the interests of society, so as to ensure that digital media are not used to perpetrate criminal activities against minors," Francis said.

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