Hiding in the shadows - the harms of pornography on Australian children is now undeniable

Hiding in the shadows - the harms of pornography on Australian children is now undeniable


The health promotion charity, Porn Harm Kids, exposes how children and young people accessing pornography is an urgent child protection issue.


Porn Harms Kids, an Australian Health Promotion Charity, releases a tell all report about the current status of children's unfettered access to pornography and its life altering harms.

Research indicates that up to 88% of popular online pornography contains acts that depict physical aggression, principally spanking, gagging, slapping and other abusive behaviours; and more frequent viewers are more likely to have sexually aggressive attitudes, and engage in sexual aggression. Children having access to pornography is essentially child sexual abuse via digital images.

Over 40 years of extensive research unequivocally identifies that access to pornography has now become a matter of urgent child protection. Worldwide, this is now being framed as a Public Health Crisis by many governments, health, violence prevention, and advocacy organisations.

Robust research endorsed by academics and organisations around the world, confirms that areas of pornography’s impact on children and young people are on the rise and include poor mental health; sexism and objectification; sexual aggression and violence; child-on-child sexual abuse and shaping of sexual behaviours. Pornography places kids at risk for sexual harms including exploitation, grooming, addiction and mental health vulnerabilities.

The Porn Harms Kids Report - protecting our kids from online pornography harms is everyone's business, reveals that the Australian Government’s current strategies and recommendations do not comprehensively address the harms, or adequately propose robust preventative measures to protect our children.

Chair of Porn Harms Kids, Liz Walker, states “It is imperative for the Australian public to know that weak and convoluted laws mean that children have unfettered access to pornography from any device connected to the internet without a filtering service installed. There are major disparities in how the government manages prohibited content hosted domestically, versus that hosted overseas.”

What pornography is today, is very different to 20 years ago when access was via magazines and some videos. This child protection issue is hiding in the shadows. Board of Directors member, Tamara Newlands states that “The Australian public deserve to be correctly informed, so they can use their voice to ensure the government makes the changes required to protect our current and future generations.”

The Report reveals that young people who lack effective sexuality education within schooling settings, are turning instead to pornography as their primary source of information. It should come as no surprise that painful sex, harassment, coercion, physical force, rape, and sexual assault are standard experiences for an increasing number of children and young people.

Research cited in The Report that states “Over 50 studies show a strong connection between pornography and sexual violence. The results are the same in correlational, cross-sectional, experimental, and longitudinal studies: pornography use and acts of sexual aggression are directly connected.” According to data of young people viewing pornography in Australia published in June 2017, eighty-four (84) per cent of young men and nineteen (19) per cent of young women watch pornography on a weekly or daily basis.

Walker says, “there must be a collaborative, coordinated and integrative response to this public health crisis. We must decrease children’s access, harms and vulnerabilities to online pornography, so that we can create a safer digital future for our children and young people.”

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Porn Harms Kids calls on the Australian media to support our children and bring this issue out of the shadows and be ambassadors for the protection of our current and future generations. 


Interview opportunities with experts

  • Liz Walker, Porn Harms Kids, Chair. 
    Mobile: 0438 124 780 or email [email protected]
  • Tamara Newlands - Porn Harms Kids, Board Director
    Mobile: 0402 025 905 or email [email protected]
  • Matt Adamson, Porn Harms Kids Ambassador - former Australian Professional Rugby League Player, and International Representative
  • Sonya Ryan, Founder & CEO - Carly Ryan Foundation, Youth Cyber Safety Education
  • Katrina Weeks, Acting Manager, Centre Against Sexual Violence Inc.
  • John Carr, Secretary Children’s Charities Coalition on Internet Safety (UK)
  • Holly-ann Martin, Managing Director - Safe4Kids

Story ideas

  • Pornography triggers rise in child-on-child sexual abuse within Australia’s Indigenous communities
  • Overseas commercial interests profiting off Australian’s through an unjust regulatory system
  • Porn places kids at risk for sexual harms including exploitation, grooming, addiction and mental health vulnerabilities
  • How the Government is failing to protect young people from porn
  • How schools can prevent child sexual exploitation
  • The role of technology companies and ISPs in protecting young people


Wednesday 27 September 2017

Download the Executive Summary http://www.pornharmskids.org.au/phk-report_exec_summary_2017 and find the infographics below for use in your story. The full report is available from www.pornharmskids.org.au/report_2017

Download this Press Release as a PDF 



Porn Harm Kids is a registered health promotion charity, addressing the harms of children and young people accessing online pornography. This registered health promotion charity mobilises researchers, child development experts, youth welfare authorities, the medical profession, non-profits, social and public policy sectors and members of the community including schools and parents, to work toward a comprehensive solution.