Protecting Children

Online Child Protection - A Nationwide Approach

We love the hive of activity throughout National Child Protection week. The targeted focus of "Protecting children is everyone’s business", inspired the tagline for our landmark 2017 Porn Harms Kids Report: protecting our kids from online pornography harms is everyone's business.

NAPCAN (The National Association for Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect) spearheads this week that runs from Fathers Day to the following Saturday every year, attracting the support of organisations from around the country, including the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. All involved have a common goal to protect kids.

National Protection Week is close to our hearts, as kids daily face the potential onslaught of adult content at the tips of their fingers or accidentally through friends. New research from the US reveals a whopping "81% of adolescents ages 14 to 18 who had seen pornographic material had been exposed to it unintentionally—either coming across it online or receiving it unsolicited."

You often see us highlighting the real threat that pornography is for our children's wellbeing. The stream of stories we hear are heart-wrenching, and supporting the public to recognise that porn has now become the major educator of our kids is not something we enjoy sharing. The reason this is still a big part of our message, is that many people still don’t get how big this issue is, or the reality that kids are attempting to access porn, even while at school. When they see it, they often don't know how to respond, which can put other kids at risk as they share explicit content with peers. With no other framework to understand what they are seeing, pornographic behaviours become normalised. So whilst those charged with looking after our children (the public, parents and key stakeholders) don’t recognise the urgent need for holistic education and preventative measures, our kids are continuing to learn from a source that is in no way realistic to day-to-day relationships.

We - collectively - can do better. Our kids need us to act. And what's clear from attending exceptional events on child protection and networking with professionals in this space, is that the shift in awareness is happening. When they realise the reality of the impacts, health professionals and teachers especially, are at a loss with how to deal with it and want to see a nationwide approach to address this issue. The vast majority of those we speak with want to support change but don't know where to begin. They are very relieved to learn that eChildhood is leading the charge.

What we are also hearing is that parents want help. Today's parents didn’t begin their parenting journey expecting to have to talk with their kids about porn. The reality is that porn is not for kids - of equal reality is that they now need age-appropriate conversations from a very young age. We can understand how parents may not want to talk to their kids about it, however it is not a matter of if kids see porn, but when. We can no longer afford sit in our discomfort and pretend they won't see it. We must talk bravely and provide them with an accurate understanding of sex and relationships, so that porn doesn’t become their educational source. 

We have heard the discomfort loud and clear, and many of us at eChildhood are parents too. We are working behind the scenes to make this "not so easy" topic easier, and give parents, carers and health professionals the tools to have these essential conversations, and be equipped to support our youth to build the relationships they deserve. If you would like to be first to access these resources as they become available, sign up to our mailing list by joining the movement. In the meantime, we have compiled a selection of resources to support you right now. So grab what you need and if you don’t find what you're looking for, contact us, or head to our website for more resources. 

Resources for Parents of Children:

Resources for Parents of Teens:

You can report offensive or illegal content in Australia via the eSafety office and get your cyber safety sorted through Family Zone.

Unfortunately, the excruciating question for those profoundly affected can be "where do I get help?" Our Support page contains links to Australian services that provide assistance to those who have been sexually abused and their families, and work with children and youth who may be displaying harmful or abusive behaviours.

There's lots that CAN be done to protect children from a "top of the cliff" viewpoint rather than waiting till we find our kids at the bottom. A public health approach requires all of us to be in involved. After all, protecting our kids from online pornography harms is everyone's businessTogether we can let kids be kids to grow up free from the harms of porn. Help us get this education out there quicker by donating to us here. Thank you!