A seminar held in Sydney has heard that Internet pornography is causing a long-term public health crisis amongst Australian children.
Dr Joe Tucci, the head of the Australian Childhood Foundation, told the Porn Harms Kids seminar that the children’s behaviour was being shaped by the widespread availability of pornography online.
“Research has shown over 90 per cent of boys under the age of 16 have visited a pornography site online, with around 60 per cent of girls doing the same,” Dr Tucci said.
He told the seminar that a public health crisis was emerging as it is “impossible for children not to see it [pornography].”
“You only have to put innocent words like ‘love’ into Google and it takes you three or four results to get to a porn site,” Dr Tucci told the seminar. “We will see a lot more adults emerging with sexually offending behaviour and sexually harmful behaviour towards others.
“I think the community would be shocked by the kinds of consequences we are seeing in a small group of children being exposed to this kind of pornography. This is a public health crisis. Like smoking or other public health issues, this will have long-term consequences.”
Dr Tucci reported that health authorities nation-wide have seen an increase in the number of children engaging in problem sexual behaviour with other children.
“We have dropped children into an adult world where the concepts that they are faced with are too complex for them to understand and process properly,” he said. “It will take a multi-pronged approach to find a solution. We need to have the conversation about what to do next.”
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