Portrayal of sexual violence in media is having a negative effect on Kiwi teenagers - Chief Censor's report

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The portrayal of sexual violence in the media is having a negative effect on New Zealand's teenagers according to a new report by the Chief Censor.

Of the 50 teenagers spoken to in Chief Censor David Shanks report, most said their parents were unaware of what they were watching, or weren't interested.

"There is a real risk of cumulative impacts and shaping of young people's views and attitudes and that's particularly so for young people," Mr Shanks said.

Mr Shanks has just released the last of three reports on young New Zealanders' views upon sexual violence.

Some disturbing responses from New Zealand teens on how the representation of sex on television affects them included:

"I feel like some guys would see that and think 'I can do that to girls and that's how I would get some'."

And:  "We lean mixed messages about relationships, sex and sexual violence from the media."

The report suggests viewers may become desensitised to high impact content through repeated exposure and are often seeing things they don't want to see.

However, New Zealand's own Shortland Street, which airs on TVNZ2, was praised in the report for being socially responsible when airing sexually explicit material.

"I think it's good practice to have those boundaries around those kinds of stories we're telling and to remember that we've got young eyes on us and that they're incredibly vulnerable," Shortland Street producer Maxine Fleming said.

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