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What porn is doing to our kids - sexual abuse via digital images

Most of us can remember the dawning of the new millennium. The world breathed a collective sigh of relief as the Y2K nightmare did not eventuate and looked with anticipation to what the future would hold.

Back then, average internet speeds were less than 0.05Mbps, basic text messages slowly arrived to the familiar drum beat of a dial up modem shaking hands. A photograph would slowly appear in intermittent chunks of image. The world wide wait was a popular euphemism of what the internet was. 1Gigabyte was a very large hard drive, 1.4MegaByte could be carried on a disk in a large pocket and chunky mobile phones made expensive mobile phone calls.

Today, some countries boast internet speeds of up to 1000Mbps and television is struggling under the onslaught of on demand, high definition, online content. Files that would have taken weeks to transmit arrive in minutes on our phones which have more processing power and potential than 20 top of the range 1999 Pentiums.

Conversion has created a seamless online experience which offers everything from business, education, communication and entertainment anytime, anywhere, anyhow.

The change has been rapid, exciting and slightly overwhelming with access providers unable to keep up with demand for faster, better and brighter.

What has been less than rapid and overwhelming is the response from Governments and access providers to the growing challenges faced by extreme online content.

While corporations protect their employees and profits with complex content control and regulations, and entertainment giants have protected their profits by court orders requiring ISPs to block piracy sites. Australian children have been left in a highly vulnerable position by regulations with no teeth and regulatory bodies which are powerless to regulate the very content that has been placed in their jurisdiction.

There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.
Nelson Mandela

The Porn Harms Kids Report represents the most comprehensive analysis of the current threats facing children from extreme online content to date, as well as a historical review of how the Government, community groups and content providers have reacted to the issue. The Porn Harms Kids Report: Protecting our kids from online pornography harms is everyone’s business, is both confronting yet balanced, providing constructive criticism and credit where credit is due.

The focus of this report, which represents the combined efforts of community groups, governments and industry, is positive and focussed on clear objectives and achievable outcomes to ensure that the online world is and remains a safe, exciting positive experience for all Australians big and small. Yet it makes no apologies for saying that much more needs to be done to address pornography harms, including how this content places children and young people at risk for exploitation, grooming, addiction and mental health vulnerabilities. The Report clearly explains that children having access to pornography is essentially, child sexual abuse via digital images.

Stand with us, in unified voice for the protection of our children and young people, and bring this conversation out of the shadows as a matter of national urgency. By adding your voice through signing our pledge, it shows that there is widespread societal support to prevent access to, and protect children from pornography harms. A unified voice underpins changes in legislation and policies, enables improvement to prevention in the digital environment, and affirms the need to build a national, robust educational strategy.

As an advocate, we invite you to download The Report and share it with your Federal Member of Parliament, key stakeholders and other decision makers, to help them understand the scope of this issue, and implement effective solutions to deal with pornography as a form online sexual abuse upon our children and young people.

Their Future. Your Voice. Learn more about the Porn Harms Kids pledge and let your voice of advocacy be heard.

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Their Future. Your Voice.

I pledge to stand for…

  • A world where kids can grow up without being harmed by accessing graphic, violent online pornography
  • Prevention of children’s access to pornography through digital child protection buffers
  • Updated legislation and education to address pornography as a public health crisis that increases children and young people's vulnerabilities to sexual harms

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