ACHPER WA President Donna Barwood recently attended the Children and pornography presentation by Maree Crabbe at St Mary’s AGS. Donna has summarised the key points from this presentation for your consideration.
- 1 in 4 young persons have accidentally and unintentionally seen pornography before the age of 12;
- 71% of young people are not looking for porn when they first see it;
- Young men are more likely to view pornography than young women, with 47% 15-19 boys viewing it every day and 15% viewing every week;
- The mean age for pornography viewing for boys is 13 years and 16 years for girls;
- 94% of pornography depicts aggression against women;
- 95% of that aggression is received positively in the pornography;
- Pornography promotes male aggression and female subservience;
- Pornography misrepresents pleasure and relationships;
- 1 in 5 young persons have tried to do something that was seen in pornographic content; and
- Pornography depicts rigid stereotypes and roles.
Main message: Young people do not have the tools or the framework to understand and critique what they are seeing in pornography.
Key ideas for parents and schools
- Limit exposure to minimise the harm;
- Equip and encourage young people to critique what they are seeing in pornography;
- Help young people to develop the skills required to resist the influence of pornography; and
- Inspire young people that relationships and sex can be better that what they see in pornography.
Therefore, talking about pornography, sex, gender, power and the media is critical with young people. However, as important, is the notion that young people need to be exposed (see) to loving and caring relationships so that they can counteract the normalcy of aggression as depicted in pornography. Young people also need the skills to be able to respond where pornographic influence puts own and other health at risk.
Suggestions for school
Step 1 – A foundational approach that focuses on critiquing the influence of the media.
Step 2 – An integrated approach that focuses on related content such as sexuality and relationship education.
Step 3 – A specific learning approach that mobilises specific curriculum to address pornography and its influence (must be age appropriate only).