I was a child abuse detective. And even I couldn’t protect my child from porn

"Even with all my experience, all my knowledge, all my protective measures and the amazing relationship I have with my daughter, I was still unable to stop her from being exposed to pornography at a too young age."

The following account was shared with us by a parent via our Kids Exposed page. 


She was exposed at 10yo.

Sadly and embarrassingly, I was a child abuse detective with over 8 years experience in this space at the time.

I had conversations with my daughter previous to this incident. She knew what porn was and I thought I had covered all bases with her potential exposure and to keep her safe. Unfortunately, she still managed to see it due to the lack of age verification on pornography sites.

One day, she came into my bedroom as I was folding washing and said… ‘Mum, I need you to sit down’.

As a child abuse detective, my brain went to the worse case scenario, that she had been sexually abused. However, thankfully that was not the case, but she was still about to break my heart all the same.

She said, ‘Mum, I googled Sex and I saw porn and it’s making me feel yucky in my stomach and I can’t stop seeing the man doing that to the lady, why was he like that with her’.

I was heart-broken that despite me doing MORE than the average parent does for their child when it comes to talking about and protecting their child from exposure to pornography, she was still exposed and it left her upset and confused.

I am not going to lie, I felt so upset with myself. I should have done more but it turned out that because she had been having her ‘sex’ and puberty education at school at the time, it had left her curious. Hence the google search.

My job had enabled me to know what early exposure to porn does to children. How it affects the brain, how it can leave children with flashbacks and sometimes causes sleep regression with them seeing the scene as they try to sleep. It can also cause children to be traumatised.

Depending on the porn, it can also be a reason for children to start engaging in Harmful Sexualised Behaviours, as I had seen in my job. Especially if they are left without help, support and explanations from a safe adult.

Thankfully, my daughter came to me pretty much straight away. She told me what she had seen (a women giving oral sex, a man having penal/vaginal sex in multiple positions) and that it was only for a few minutes.

Because she felt safe to tell me, I was able to talk her through and explain what she had seen. I was able to control the narrative and help her young brain understand what she had seen with little repercussions (thankfully).

But only because we talked it through and she felt safe to do so.

However, as a result, I went on a journey of trying to better protect her device to ensure she never ‘accidentally’ saw porn. I downloaded and trialled many 3rd party protective/blocking apps but was able to bypass and override all of them.

In fact, with one of these apps running and apparently blocking inappropriate and dangerous content, I was able to view a video of a man engaging in sexual acts with a goat (to completion) on YouTube.

The video hadn’t even come up with the ‘sex’ search on the platform and came up under a completely different search name.

I reported it immediately to the platform but that video still runs rent free in my head and I cringe imagining if a child or young person had seen that.

Even with all my experience, all my knowledge, all my protective measures and the amazing relationship I have with my daughter, I was still UNABLE to stop her from being exposed to pornography at a TOO young age.

I worry about all of the little Australian children without help, support and communication and how they must be dealing with it or NOT dealing with the absolutely inappropriate crap floating around on the internet.

What I know from my experience investigation child sexual abuse is that early exposure to pornography is enabling the over sexualisation of our children and its grooming our children for abuse.

In fact, in my time as a police officer, I saw groomers use porn as a way to normalise sex with adults and ‘clear’ the way for abuse.

I am a highly intelligent and motivated parent due to my experience and position in the community but not every parent has that motivation, nor that education and there are children at risk of exposure when it should simply not happen.

It’s WAY past time for easy measures like ‘age verification’ and if our government doesn’t stop the tsunami of early exposure, than we are going to be seeing another few generations of kids being victims of child sexual abuse.

Read more accounts of kids exposure to porn or submit your own story here.

See also

Collective Shout welcomes Coalition efforts to protect kids from porn

Open Letter: Women’s safety and child protection experts call for age verification pilot

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  • Caitlin Roper
    published this page in News 2023-11-25 20:46:57 +1100

You can defend their right to childhood

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