Pornography Ring Highlights Desperate Need For Discussion

This week has been a big week for us. We have received many phone calls, messages and emails from concerned parents and school representatives in light of the recent news article outlining a particular porn sharing website which has been set up targeting young women from schools all across the country. Many people are concerned, shocked and angry about the situations and issues that this article has highlighted.

The article and its contents is not a surprise to us. The website is not the first website of its kind and the schools implicated are certainly not the only schools in the country affected by the issues of sexting, pornography and the kinds of issues which have been made known to many this week.

Young people in Australia are being exposed to pornography at alarmingly young ages. The average age that a young person in Australia will first be exposed to pornography is 11 years of age – and while this may surprise us, the outcome should not. When young people are exposed to this world of pornography, they often report feeling shocked, horrified, traumatised, yet intrigued and interested by what they are viewing right in front of them. This doesn’t make these young people bad or evil. Their interest and curiosity around sex is normal. The nature of modern day pornography, however, presents us with a pretty big problem.

Young people are viewing violent, aggressive sex and it is forming their early (if not first) sexual understanding.

Pornography isn’t just about sex and nudity. Pornography is about male dominance, it’s about power, it’s about control, and in many regards, it is about eroticizing cruelty, humiliation and pain.

Porn presents women as submissive, subversive, and enjoying everything and anything that is done to them. It strips them of their humanity by reducing women to some thing to be penetrated.

We have to question the society in which we live, which has in many ways continued to fight for the rights of the porn viewer, and has suggested that it is harmless fun. Phrases and behavioural excuses such as “boys will be boys” has allowed harmful behaviour to flourish, and encouraged a generation of viewers who can become callous, misogynistic and aroused by others’ misfortune. So, what can we do?

We need to fight for our children. As parents to three young children we are aware that we must prepare them for these kinds of temptations and challenges. We must educate, guide, protect and inspire our children towards a healthy understanding of relationships, empathy, intimacy and sex. In order to do this, we need to be talking to our children about the taboo topics, and do all we can to make them regular points of conversation in our homes. We must establish ourselves as a safe place where our children can ask questions about anything, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel. Go here for a great conversation starter on the topic of sexting.

Secondly, we need to help young people consider other ways of building intimacy in relationship outside of sending naked images to one another. Sexting has become so normalised and commonplace in relationship that many young people send nudes simply because they want to show affection, or show their love for their partner, or even show interest to a potential partner. In a society which has minimised true intimacy and connection we need to discuss and help our children show interest, affection and love in relationship in ways that doesn’t put them at risk of public humiliation.

In many ways and in many cases, young people have been left alone to navigate some of life’s biggest challenges. As parents it is crucial that we walk with our children through these issues of navigating pornography, sex, dating and relationship. It’s never too early, and it’s never too late.



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