In February 2016, I had the privilege of opening the Pornography and Harms to Children and Young People Symposium. The largest gathering of its kind in the southern hemisphere with the aim to spark a national conversation about the public health crisis caused by porn harms to children across Australia. I opened with this quote from The Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls Report (2015):
The growing ubiquity of mobile devices means those targeted or indirectly implicated are getting younger and younger — with children as young as 5 or 6 years of age now exposed to cyberbullying and online pornography — sometimes of the most extreme kind. In some contexts, online culture represents the worst form of gang violence.
This is fact. Reality. This is the age our young people live in. And in every presentation I deliver, I start by saying that I make no apologies for offending anyone with what they see or hear because the porn industry makes no apologies to our children. (These words are a ‘warning’ for what is contained in the rest of this news update.)
The porn industry targets children because it’s a ‘sure win’ for an unhealthy pattern of addiction, for an increasing number of young people. The landing page of Porn Hub, the most popular porn site in the world, shows incredibly graphic images and can be accessed by any child with a device that has no digital child protection buffer. I tried to share my outrage and show a screen grab of the landing page to the Senate Inquiry: Harm being done to Australian children through access to pornography on the Internet. There were 47 live video links available on the landing page alone (at the time of visiting), and thousands more videos on other pages. Free for anyone. Any age. One of the videos rotated between several scenes of anal sex, blow jobs and choking. The remaining video screen shots included images that ranged from anal sex, blow jobs, head jobs, gagging, aggression, choking and hair pulling. The landing page incorporated references to teens, teachers, incest, mothers with babysitters and brutal bondage. This landing page is refreshed with new content daily.
But the Senate didn’t want to listen.