With a couple of clicks children and young people of all ages can now gain access to hard-core, very explicit porn. For many children and young people, exposure to online pornography is their sex education – but what they see are often violent portrayals of sex that lack the love and respect that young people need.
— Sarah Brennan, Former CEO, Young Minds, UK
Porn has become the new normal for our young people – they are seeking information, and porn has filled the gap, normalising the sexual practices they see in porn.
— Participant, NZ Youth Stakeholder Survey(25)
Kia ora and thank you for joining the conversation about porn and young people…
You’re probably aware that the porn landscape for young people has changed dramatically over the last five years. It’s changed in terms of how much porn is available, it’s ease of access, how frequently young people watch it and the type of porn that is considered normal.
Porn has become a primary sex educator for young people (7, 19), influencing youth sexual culture in new and unprecedented ways – which is why it’s more important than ever that youth organisations are equipped to be part of the porn conversation with young people.
The porn industry isn’t going away anytime soon…
So youth organisations can play an important role in helping young people navigate it, by equipping them with porn literacy skills. Sounds complicated? It’s not really… Porn literacy is simply a set of skills to help young people unpack and analyse porn. It enables them to critically examine and identify the negative messages in porn and understand how porn messaging relates to real life sexuality in terms of consent, respect, emotional connection, safety and health.
By helping young people to develop their own porn literacy, we’re equipping them with the knowledge and tools to make informed and healthy decisions around porn; minimising potential long-term harm.
We’ve put together some resources …
to help with this based on feedback we received from New Zealand youth stakeholders in our survey: Porn and Young People – what do we know? The survey indicated that most stakeholders (95%)) felt porn was an issue for young people, but many felt ill-equipped to engage on the issue in their workplace (25). They identified key resources they felt could be useful, and we’ve made a start on these below.