Published by Courier Mail - May 17, 2021
Parents have shared their horror stories as more and more young children’s behaviour is impacted by exposure to porn.
Barely a day goes by that a parent doesn’t contact me to tell me of the devastation and trauma caused as a result of their child being exposed to porn.
“My 6-year- old was shown porn by an older boy at school.”
“My daughter was on a kids’ games site and a porn-pop up appeared.”
“My child googled an innocent term and it took him straight to a porn site.”
“My son was shown porn on the school bus on the way home.”
“My 7-year-old saw porn at the school camp.”
Some of these children now suffer insomnia, nightmares, anxiety. In the worst cases, they are medicated due to the level of disturbance caused by exposure to violent porn.
It surprises many parents to learn there is nothing to prevent their child being exposed to porn. No barriers – such as proof-of-age requirements – to stop them entering rape, sadism, torture porn and incest sites. All before their first kiss.
We have allowed a never before seen experiment on the sexual development of our kids – and we’re now seeing the results.
Living in a porn-flooded eco system, kids are acting out in sexually inappropriate ways in the playground and beyond - becoming copycat predators. More personal accounts shared with me show how little girls are impacted:
“My 10-year old granddaughter was approached by a boy while waiting for the school bus and asked, ‘Do you do arse?’”
“My 8-year-old found a note in her school bag which read, ‘Ready for sex?’”
“An 8 yr old boy told my 8 yr old girl he wanted to ‘f**k you hard’.”
“10 yr old boy told my 10 yr old daughter that he was going to break in and rape her.”
No boy is born this way. This is learned behaviour.
More adolescent girls tell me of sexual harassment, groping, being hassled for sexual pics and asked for sex acts – even at school. Yr 7 girls tell me boys are even watching porn in the classroom.
When boys are being drip fed porn from the earliest days, is there any surprise at the lack of respect for them? We tell boys to respect girls, but porn – the world’s biggest department of education – teaches them the opposite.
Porn-saturated boys learn to see sex and aggression as linked. The sex education handbook that is porn, won’t teach them anything about “consent”.
What we have allowed kids to be exposed to is an act of child abuse on a mass scale.
In February 2020, a Federal parliamentary committee (before which I gave evidence) reported on its inquiry into age verification for porn and online gambling.
The Committee said there was “widespread and genuine concern…about the serious impacts on the welfare of children” associated with porn exposure. Age verification “could create a significant barrier to prevent young people…from exposure to harmful online content.”
But more than a year later, the Federal Government has not even responded to the report.
The UK Government is currently being sued by a father –whose son was exposed – for not protecting kids from porn by implementing a proof of age protection system – supported by 88 per cent on British parents.
An age verification system would complement other strategies the Government, educational, and civic bodies are undertaking to help limit harm of explicit content. The work of the e.Safety Commission in resourcing parents is, of course, vital.
Proof-of-age protections, while not a “fix-all” would provide one more layer of protection for children vulnerable to the predatory porn industry.
But right now the cards are stacked against parents and carers and in favour of a multi-billion industry spewing toxic ideas about women into the world.
How can we claim to be serious about the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children when we allow unrestricted and unregulated access to content which destroys empathy, teaching boys they can do what they want to girls?
For too long the vested interests of an industry whose business model relies on building the next generation of consumers have been put before the wellbeing of children and the community. Every day the Government delays implementing the Federal committee’s recommendation for proof-of-age protections is another day even more children will be harmed and scarred.
Melinda Tankard Reist is a campaigner with Collective Shout
Ask your MP - where's the Government response to the Age Verification for Online Porn inquiry report? Find their contact details here.