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Chief Censor’s porn report a ‘wake-up call’ for everyone


Children’s Commissioner, Judge Andrew Becroft, calls the Breaking Down Porn report, released today by the Chief Censor, a ‘wake-up call’ for all New Zealanders.

“I welcome today’s report. It’s a wake-up call and a catalyst for a national conversation about children and young people watching online porn,” says Judge Becroft.

“We have totally underestimated avalanche of porn freely available to our children, uncensored and unregulated in New Zealand homes day and night. Adults have been passive and abdicated responsibility for this.

“I regularly hear from youth workers, counsellors, community workers and teachers about the serious harm they see being done to our young people who are watching this. It is one of the great, unaddressed issues of our time,” he says.

“Children and young people are learning behaviour that does not model healthy, loving or respectful sexual relationships.

“Porn represents an unrealistic view of adult behaviour and relationships which children and young people don’t have the emotional capacity or experience to understand.

“Of specific concern for young people, is the lack of consent and the level of aggression shown to women in a significant number of videos. These videos are teaching our children the wrong things about consent and respect for their partner.

“We need to hear from our children and young people about what they need to support them navigate respectful sexual relationships. We know that honest conversations starting at home and continuing through effective education programmes are helpful and are what children want,” Judge Becroft says.

The 18-year-old “age gate” proposal is also an immediate and practical step that could be taken, he says.

“Left alone to learn about sex and relationships from porn videos leaves our children and young people at the risk of serious harm. We can’t let that continue.”

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