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Education needed to reduce impact of pornography on youth

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network says the release of the Office of Film and Literature Classification’s research on New Zealand young people and pornography is an opportunity to look at how New Zealand is educating and talking to young people about pornography as well as broader education about healthy sexuality.

Sexual Abuse Prevention Network General Manager Fiona McNamara says “While the data presented is concerning, we can reduce the impact of pornography on young people and society more broadly by refocusing how we have conversations around consent, healthy relationships and positive intimate relationships with our young people.”

“The response that is needed is to ensure that comprehensive sexuality education is available to all young people in Aotearoa.”

“Alongside education for young people, there needs to be education for adults who have young people in their lives – this includes parents, teachers and community workers. Adults need to be equipped with the skills to talk to young people about pornography and how to view it critically.”

The research shows that young people think pornography is too easy to access and that it is influencing their sexual behaviour in harmful ways.

McNamara says “Young people themselves have said they need better education to support critical thinking around sex and sexuality rather than allowing pornography to be their main source of sexuality education. It is imperative that this need is met.”

“There need to be alternative positive narratives about sex and sexuality that are even more available to young people than pornography. Young people need to learn about consent, healthy relationships and positive intimate relationships so that there are clear better alternatives to the false constructed narratives in pornography.”

The Office of Film and Literature Classification’s survey of over 2000 New Zealand teens aged 14-17 year olds for the major research project NZ Youth and Porn: Research findings of a survey on how and why young New Zealanders view online pornography revealed that over two thirds of 14 to 17 year olds have been exposed to porn.

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