Culture, Community & Connection

Young people & pornography,
a whole school response.

We recommend that schools take a holistic ‘culture, community & connection’ approach to porn that involves the whole school community including school senior leadership, school staff, whānau and caregivers, and students.

As wider school communities respond with competence and confidence, young people can be better equipped and enabled to make informed choices about porn; minimising potential long-term harm.

“I don’t think porn is helpful…. I think it’s really degrading to both men and women. And I don’t think that it should be there. But it was a resource that I had, so I took it.”
—Male, 17 (24)


In order for schools to respond effectively, change needs to start within the school culture. This begins with key school leadership (including guidance, counselling and wellbeing staff) gaining awareness and knowledge of the following in order to create agreed and consistent organisational messaging around porn and develop strategies for equipping young people:

The normalisation of porn and new sexual norms within youth sexual culture.

The need to build porn literacy skills in young people.

Common porn related issues amongst students such as revenge porn, sexual pressure, pressure to watch porn and to send nudes.

Potential impacts of porn on student’s sexual beliefs, attitudes and behaviours.

The new online porn landscape for students in terms of access, usage and content.

The role of porn as a primary form of sex education and its ‘messaging’ to young people in terms of sexual aggression, coercion, consent, pleasure and safety.

Signs of problematic porn usage amongst students.

What does this look like?

In-service training session/s for key leadership staff.

Resources that you might find helpful:

Facts sheets on the new porn landscape and the potential impacts of porn on young people.

A summary of recommended websites, books, research articles, YouTube videos and guidelines.


To best equip young people for the new porn landscape, it’s vital to build basic porn awareness and competency across the wider school and school communities including teachers, tutor group leaders, whānau and caregivers, school nurses and PAF/PTA.

This involves providing communities and staff with information on porn and the new porn landscape for young people in terms of:

Access, content and usage.

The potential impacts of porn on young people’s sexual attitudes and behaviours.

Referral pathways for students who may have problematic porn usage.

Tools for equipping young people to become porn literate and critically examining the negative messaging in porn.

Tools for managing porn access and usage such as filters.

Senior leaders should be mindful that some adults within the school community, whether parents or teachers, may be consumers of porn. To best engage all adults in the conversation and avoid stigmatising anyone, it’s helpful to focus on young people’s vulnerability to porn; the potential harms and the unique developmental stage they’re at regarding health and sexuality.

Taking a calm, evidence-based and youth focused approach helps everyone to be part of the conversation, with the joint goal of guiding and equipping young people.

What does this look like?

Staff training and whānau education evenings.

Resources that you might find helpful:

Information and resources specifically for whānau and caregivers of students. Incl. conversation starters and parent resources.

Facts sheets on the new porn landscape and the potential impacts of porn on young people.

A summary of recommended websites, books, research articles, YouTube videos and guidelines.


Once school leaders, staff and the wider school community are resourced, schools can successfully start to connect with their students about porn.

If students know that school staff and the wider school community have some porn knowledge and understanding, they’re more likely to readily connect with adults, disclose porn concerns or problematic usage and be open to change. Through connecting, adults can help students develop porn literacy skills. This is simply the skills to analyse porn and critically examine the messages in it (like whether it’s sexist, racist or aggressive). It enables students to understand the wider context of the porn industry and how porn messaging relates to real-life sexuality in terms of consent, emotional connection, pleasure and safety.

For specific porn curriculum, tools and resources, we recommend:

Two Nights Production by Bernard Beckett and Hutt Valley High students

Two nights is a piece of social activist theatre that is a response to the largely undiscussed role that pornography is playing in redefining both the idea and practice of intimacy amongst young people. This is a free 45-minute show performed in schools targeting year 10-13 students. There is a follow-up lesson that can be delivered immediately afterwards with accompanying resources. Two nights is a Wellington based group available for travel to other regions upon request. Please CLICK HERE for details on the show or contact for details.

Youth Wellbeing

Youth Wellbeing Australia have a Schools Education Programme to enhance protective behaviours, improve quality of relationships and increase resilience to porn culture. They offer specific primary and secondary school IQ curriculum to support children and young people to make decisions that enhance their health and safety both online and offline, and empower and build resilience.

In The Picture

An Australian resource that supports secondary schools to address the influence of explicit sexual imagery. It provides guidelines, suggested strategies and a wide range of practical resources from which schools can create a whole school approach to porn.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would like information on how to book staff training and whānau education evenings.

The presenters were excellent, and helped us gain a greater comprehension of how we can facilitate learning around porn literacy with our students!”

Head of Middle College Health & PE, Auckland School

What does this look like?

Peer education sessions, porn literacy in the school health curriculum, presentations from outside speakers and in-the-moment conversations.

Resources that you might find helpful:

A youth friendly fact sheet with information on the new porn landscape and the most recent research on the potential impacts of porn on attitudes, behaviours and relationships.

A youth resource to help start conversations and build porn literacy in young people by discussing great sex compared to porn sex in terms of pleasure, consent, emotional connection and safety.

A great go-to youth resource that can help with conversations when young people ask if and how porn can affect them.

The basics for starting conversations about porn with young people including talk preparation, key considerations, conversation starters, links and how to keep the conversation going.