Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Liz Walker to speak in New Zealand

Would you give a 5-year old alcohol? Then don’t give them porn

When Brisbane sexologist Liz Walker delivers her Counteracting Porn Culture workshops to parents and education professionals in Auckland and Wellington she won’t be pulling any punches. August 15, 16 and 18 will be the Youth Wellbeing Project founders second crack at getting adult New Zealanders to shed any puritan embarrassment and face facts about kids as young as five-years old accessing film that, according to the 2015 Cyber Violence Against Women and Girls Report, involves gang rape.

Walker, a Masters graduate of Health Science in Sexual Health,has updated the 2016 tour focus to concentrate on sex education as part of an urgent multipronged response to the alarming growth of internet porn use among kids.

Kiwi singer and activist, Lizzie Marvelly, supports this kind of work and is “totally on board with talking about sex and porn [to help] kids”. She broached how woefully absent this conversation is here, in her New Zealand Herald blog of January this year:

‘…Teaching teens how to correctly use a condom is important, but it doesn't give them any insights into how to build a healthy and fulfilling relationship.

‘It also doesn't begin to deconstruct the porn-informed notions that anal sex is an expectation, that girls should give oral sex as par for the course, that male pleasure is more important than female pleasure, or that hitting and slapping your partner is commonly acceptable…how can we expect them to instinctively figure out what is and isn't okay in a sexual relationship when their most easily accessible (and most-viewed) reference is online pornography?’

One of the major road blocks in measuring how porn is being used by children is the blatant lack of data.

Dr Sean Sullivan, a clinical psychologist and director of New Zealand’s Abacus Counselling, Training and Supervision service, regularly refers to the lack of research and data in this area, and that’s just for adults: ‘There is little research available to estimate the prevalence of Internet pornography access let alone research about a condition that could be described as an addiction’

Bridget Wilson is an Auckland-based addictions counsellor with eight years of experience; she specializes in sexual addiction, and recently authored an e-novel, Addicted to Love. She’s well aware of the damage addictive online pornography is doing to kids, and also how behind the rest of the world New Zealand is on addressing it. This is a scientific and societal problem that parents and educators need to consider right now.

“Firstly, the human brain doesn’t mature until we’re in our mid 20s, so introducing any mood altering process (like porn) is damaging and arrests development of the brain. The earlier, the more damaging. You wouldn’t give a six-year old alcohol, so why allow them access to porn? This is already happening, folks, so prepare for a tsunami.”

Ms Wilson explains that addiction comes about as the result of a chronic disease of the brain and thus, is a health problem. When faced with this issue many confuse it with a moral or even criminal problem. This is far from helpful with children.

“The human brain is not designed to cope with the huge amounts of mood-altering chemicals that are naturally produced when a person acts out (i.e. compulsively masturbates) to pornographic images. It’s not the porn that’s the problem, it’s the brain. The addict brain always wants more, hence the need for more hard-core images. So in the US for instance, kids are presenting for treatment for sexual addiction in their early twenties. At this stage they’ve been accessing hard-core pornography for half their lives and they can’t function on many levels – can’t talk to female peers, can’t function sexually when presented with the ‘real’ thing [instead of a porn star], and have no ability to be sociable.”

The University of Cambridge recently published findings that support Wilson’s statements. Department of Psychiatry researchers worked on responses from nineteen young men, and concluded that the younger the viewer, the greater response to pornography they will experience – this is being experienced first-hand by Kiwi practitioners today.

The age of clients now signing up with sex therapists like Wellington-based Mary Hodson and Auckland-based Louise Von Maltitz has plummeted to 13 years old. These kids are facing sexual dysfunction due to immersion in online pornography; it’s instances such as this that spurs Walker to tackle the subject in a no-holds barred fashion. Educators, counsellors and parents all need to be educated and prepared to help these children. Unfortunately, professionals including Wilson and Von Maltitz, agree with Walker that we’re not.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Jill Trevelyan's Rita Angus

Although Angus has become one of Aotearoa’s best-loved painters, the story of her life remained little known and poorly understood before Jill Trevelyan's acclaimed and revelatory biography, which won the Non Fiction Award at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2009, and has now been republished by Te Papa press. More>>

Howard Davis: The Back of the Painting

Painting conservators are the forensic pathologists of the art world. While they cannot bring their subjects back to life, they do provide fascinating insights into the precise circumstances of a painting's creation, its material authenticity, and constructive methodology. More>>

Howard Davis: Black Panthers on the Prowl

A passionate and gripping political drama from Shaka King, this is an informative and instructive tale of human frailty that centers around the charismatic Chicago Black Panther leader Fred Hampton, who was murdered at the age of twenty-one during a police raid. More>>

Howard Davis: Controlling the High Ground

Stephen Johnson's raw and angry film not only poses important questions with scrupulous authenticity, but also provides a timely reminder of the genocidal consequences of casual bigotry and xenophobia. More>>

Howard Davis: Dryzabone - Robert Conolly's The Dry

After the terrible devastation caused by last year’s bushfires, which prompted hundreds of Australians to shelter in the ocean to escape incineration and destroyed uncountable amounts of wildlife, The Dry has been released during a totally different kind of dry spell. More>>

Howard Davis: Hit the Road, Jack - Chloé Zhao's Nomadland

Nomadland is perhaps the ultimately 'road' movie as it follows a group of dispossessed and disenfranchised vagabonds who find a form of communal refuge in camp sites and trailer parks after the economic contraction of 2008. More>>

Howard Davis: Byrneing Down the House - Spike Lee's American Utopia

Lee does an admirable job capturing Byrne's stunning live performance of his latest album, but the real star of the show is the staging. More>>



  • Wellington
  • Christchurch
  • Auckland