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Online child safety advocate Rachel Downie says parents are unaware of about 80 per cent of what their teen engages in on the internet at home.
Ms Downie, a former teacher, told ABC she had surveyed more than 20,000 students over the last five years, asking "what's something you do on the internet at home that you know you're not allowed to do?"
The results were concerning, with teens viewing violent real-life content, such as fights, muggings and pornography that looks non-consensual.
Photo by Rachel Downie
Ms Downie said 51 per cent of children, mostly boys, had viewed pornography or other illicit material, while one-fifth of respondents admitted to bullying, trolling and stalking for fun.
For some behaviours, the children themselves were screaming out for stronger regulation.
She said parents were often unaware of how far "down the spiral kids are".
"After every presentation, and it's usually with mums, they want to come chat to me afterwards about the fact that their 12, 13, 14-year-old son is addicted to pornography.
Ms Downie said it is a confusing, unchartered time for parents, exacerbated by the demands of school and society for children to be technologically savvy.
"What we're doing is 'ping, you're 12 here's your phone', 'ping you're 13, here's your own computer' and it's happening much earlier.
Ms Downie went on to give advice to parents on what they can do:
Ultimately, Ms Downie said adequate parental supervision and keeping conversations open is the key to tackling the issue.
"If you're not checking you wouldn't know, and it's not good enough anymore to say 'hey my 12-year-old daughter is a great kid, I really trust her'.
"I'm certainly not an advocate for banning everything because that's not the world we live in, but I am a very strong advocate for your need to know what they're doing.
"It's about being a grown-up and being the boss and getting your techno power back and saying, 'look we're going to set some boundaries around this stuff at home'."
Ms Downie said having those conversations with children and teens was crucial to building helping young people cope in the real and emotional online world.
Opening those lines of communication and setting boundaries should be done earlier, than later.
OPINION: Psychologists here say we're in the middle of a porn crisis.
Just last year an Australian study found 100 percent of boys surveyed were exposed to porn, and 85 percent said they viewed it daily or weekly.
In the US, six states are declaring pornography a public health crisis. Even The New York Times is calling on officials to ban it.
But while it's easy to tell the government they should be doing something, this is one of those issues where actually, it's what you do that counts.
I want to talk about pornography.
- Explicit porn being promoted on Instagram
- How to talk to your kids about porn
- Is free pornography destroying our brains?
Except, it's sort of an awkward topic, particularly on TV when kids might be watching, so I've come up with a solution.
For the next couple of minutes instead of the word 'porn', I’m going to say the word 'corn'. Just tell your children we're talking about corn.
When I was young, you never saw corn. Maybe some kid would bring his dad's corn to school and you’d pass it round, but it was pretty tame. Some of them were still wearing their husks.
Now as you probably know, corn is everywhere. You don’t even have to buy it from a dairy, you just open your laptop or phone and it’s there ready to go.
As a guy it's tempting and easy - like grabbing a cold beer out of the fridge. But it's this easiness that I want to talk about tonight.
Next time you start typing "cornhub" into your address bar, take a moment and remember this.
You are slowly destroying your own ability to have normal sex with another normal human.
Here's what clinical psychologist Dr Mark Thorpe, who deals with this stuff all the time, said.
"We are in the middle of a crisis. There is an extreme amount of sexual problems with young men under 25 - and that manifests as erectile dysfunction; delayed ejaculation; diminished libido with real life partners, not screen; and an avoidance of genuine relationships."
That's right, every time you go online to get off, you're making your own corncob look more like this.
Yep, that thing in the top left corner. Photo credit: The Project
The more corn you consume, the harder corn you're going to need.
Here's Dr Thorpe again: "The brain and internet porn are geared towards it, so there is the natural tendency to slide into more and more difficult things.
"It's a bit like what you mentioned with drugs, you need greater hits you need greater variety so it goes more and more into aggressive, difficult, punitive content."
These are real people in these videos.
Somebody's daughter, someone's sister. Some of them do a good job of looking like this is their first-choice career, but don't kid yourself.
At least admit that by using corn we're effectively helping a huge corporate to make women and girls do things they don't really want to do, so that men like us will feel good for a few seconds.
Take some ownership of what this is doing to New Zealand kids.
It is estimated 88 percent of online pornography is violent. By supporting this industry we're supporting our latest form of sex education, where boys learn that slapping, choking and hurting their girlfriends is a form of intimacy, and girls grow up thinking they're meant to act like the women in the videos because that's the only sex they've ever seen.
If hearing this stuff makes you want to make a change, I've been working with Dr Thorpe on a set of tips to move on from porn.
It's on The Project's Facebook page. If you're worried about it showing up in your history, just turn on your private browser first… pretty sure you know how that works.
And look, I'm not going to tell you what to do when the curtains are closed. But I am asking you not to consume pornography with your eyes wide shut.
The internet is messing with us in ways we'll never fully understand, but finding another way to get yourself in the mood is one huge thing you can do to have a positive impact on yourself, your relationship and on your children.
Jesse Mulligan is a presenter on The Project
Read full article here.
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Over exposure is making teens pawns to porn
A 15-year-old boy confided in me after I addressed his class at a Sydney school last year. He cried as he told me he had been using porn since the age of nine. He didn't have a social life, had few friends, had never had a girlfriend. His life revolved around online porn. He wanted to stop, he said, but didn't know how.Read more