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Calls for government regulation after Covid-19 triggers surge in online porn

A sex therapist is calling for more action from the government around the regluation of porn, after the Covid-19 lockdowns triggered a spike in harmful pornographic material surfacing online. 

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Sex therapist Jo Robertson says sites like Twitter are now frequently harbouring porn.

Jo Robertson says pornographic material has moved beyond the traditional, heavily regulated platforms and in to more mainstream social media channels. 

“We know that they’re seeing it on Instagram, on Reddit, on Tumblr, on Twitter so all these alternative porn platforms," she said.

“We know that 46 per cent of porn that Kiwis engaged with had incestuous or family themes, 35 per cent had non-consensual behaviour… that’s not great messaging for our young people. “

Content has really grown on social media platforms in all forms as younger people are creating their own content to upload.

Twitter has a significant degree of content involving underage individuals with one study suggesting that over 30 per cent of nude material on the website involved children and teens.

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There are calls for more open conversations as youths spend more time on devices at home. Source: 1 NEWS

“There’s not even a box that says check here if you are over 18. There’s nothing to protect our kids from seeing that.”

Robertson says the lack of education provided by the government for youth around porn and sex education has been disappointing.

“We just sort of leave our kids high and dry. Good luck… here’s the internet.”

Despite Labour introducing a sexual violence legislation, she believes there wasn’t enough of a focus teaching children about the dangers of online porn.

“There’s this tug of war between adult autonomy, privacy and freedom and young people’s protection. Adults will always win.

Every year that passes, more kids are engaging with that content. Waiting for many, many years ahead of us is not good enough.”

Robertson is calling for more responsibility over the safety of children online to be taking at a Government level as it shouldn’t just be left to parents.

“We need it across ministry; education, health, social development , all of them to get in a room together and make a plan.”