Pornography – What impact is it having on your child?

It is widely acknowledged that statistically 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys, in Australia, will suffer some form of sexual abuse, before their 18th birthday.

I would go as far to say, that every child in Australia will suffer some form of sexual abuse before their 18th birthday, due to the ease of access to pornography on the internet. A child witnessing pornography is sexual abuse, and it is traumatising them!

Having taught nearly 3,000 children across Australia this year alone, I’m hearing some very disturbing anecdotes. These range from year nine students at a Catholic school, who have a really warped understanding about sex and respectful relationships, due to having observed very violent graphic pornography, to five year olds who stumble across these images when searching on the internet for Ernie and Bert or fairies.

One parent, during a parent workshop, describe how her daughter was one minute watching ballet on YouTube, the next minute, she could hear some alarming sounds coming from her daughter’s iPad. Not knowing what to do, she totally over reacted snatching the device from her daughter’s hands. She wished she had attended my workshop before the incident, and then she would have had the skill set to handle the matter quite differently.

I often see really young children, especially at airports, playing games on tablets. If these devices have internet access and a pop up appears, most children will click on the flashing lights. The next thing you know, they are being exposed to sexually explicit images that may have a detrimental effect on their development. The year nine students I referred to earlier were full of bravado about what they had seen and were making jokes, but many have been traumatised by these images, which are too graphic to detail in this newsletter.

The normalisation of pornographic images and videos is placing unrealistic expectations on young women to perform these sexual acts. In my experience many school are failing students by not providing quality respectful relationship education and sex education to their students. Secondary school students should be taught about the negative impact of pornography and should receive education on respectful relationships, sexuality and staying safe, rather than just the "mechanics" of reproduction. Who is teaching young people that what they are witnessing in these porn movies is not how people should be treating each other? These are not respectful relationships!

Whilst conducting my “Public and Private” lesson, I ask all children from Kindergarten to year 10 what they would do if they came across private pictures (I never refer to them as porn with children). Children from four years old to seven year’s old, say they would tell their teacher or parents. Most children over eight years, say they wouldn’t tell anyone because they fear they will lose access to the device or they think they will get into trouble. This is putting children at huge risk on many levels, from not knowing how to process these images and causing nightmares, to the potential of being groomed by predators.

Parents need to have open communication with their children and talk with them about what to do if they witness these harmful images. I believe we need a national educational campaign about the effects of pornography, not just on the developing brains of our children, but also the impact it is having on our whole community.


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Product of the Month:

Lauren feels unsafe at school when Hayden-Reece appears over the wall of the toilet she is using. She goes to tell her teacher Miss Martin, who is a person on her Network. Miss Martin teaches her class the difference between Public and Private, and explains that no one should see or touch your private parts and that Private means ‘Just for you’.

This book will help both parents and teachers explain this important subject so that children of all ages will understand the difference between public and private, and how that applies to them personally in their daily lives.

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Safe4Kids Training Programs

Holly-ann provides specialised training for teachers, childcare educators and parents to provide them with skills and practical ideas for teaching Protective Education to children. You can begin to implement this program in your school, childcare centre or at home with a basic training workshop. In two hours you will gain enough knowledge to start teaching your children and begin modeling the language, concepts and strategies of child abuse prevention education.

Basic Training is a two hour professional development for teachers and childcare educators, presented by Holly-ann Martin as an introduction to her ten-week lesson plan.

Classroom Mentoring is also available for more detailed and practical training for teachers.

Parent Workshop is a two hour session packed with fantastic ideas for parents to begin practicing pro-active behaviour and language with their children at home.

Holly-ann is also available for customised in-house training and consulting by request.

If you would like more information about training, or would like to engage Holly-ann as a speaker at your event, please contact her directly at holly-ann@safe4kids.com.au