Rutherford meeting will give parents an insight into how children perceive porn

Maree Crabbe.
Maree Crabbe.

Frightening statistics reveal that more than 90 per cent of boys and 60 per cent of girls have seen online porn which has prompted a local youth organisation to hold a parents only meeting in Maitland next week.

As our children grow up in an era of accessible technology, their exposure to pornography is almost impossible to avoid and Maitland kids, some younger than 11, are no exception.

So concerned is Hunter-based youth development organisation RYDON (Regional Youth Development Officers Network) it has organised a parents’ evening in Maitland next week to help them address the subject with their children.

RYDON youth worker Rhys Callaghan said porn is no longer the centrefold it used to be. Its move from a brown paper bag onto smart phones and personal laptops has been accompanied by a shift towards more aggressive content.

Other statistics from the Reality and Risk Project, show that 88 per cent of scenes of the most popular porn include physical aggression and about 30 per cent of all internet traffic is porn related

Alarm bells were raised for local youth workers earlier this year when results of a survey were released asking parents what they think the biggest issues are facing young children. Mr Callaghan said the result was overwhelming with most parents concerned about their children accessing porn and content of a sexual nature on the Internet. “It’s becoming a common theme and parents don’t know how to handle the fact that young people some younger than 11, are being exposed to it,” he said.

Wednesday night’s meeting at Club Maitland City, Rutherford, is an opportunity for parents to learn more about how to handle the situation. The meeting starts at 6.30.

Maree Crabbe, who coordinates the nationally acclaimed violence prevention project “Reality and Risk: Pornography, Young People and Sexuality,” will address the meeting. “I noticed that porn was increasingly playing a role in how young people learn about, think about and experience sexuality,” Ms Crabbe said. “The young people I worked with were keen to talk about porn, but the adults in their lives often had no idea about porn’s prevalence or influence. Those who did, often didn’t feel equipped to have the conversation,” she said.

The Reality and Risk project supports young people and the broader community to critique the messages about gender and sex conveyed through mainstream pornography, and promote understandings of relationships and sexuality.

People interested in attending can register through Eventbrite.