Media Release: Monday, April 30, 2007

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) has called for better Internet and media safeguards to protect children in the light of a report that draws a strong correlation between media images and the likelihood of children being sexually abusive to others.

Australian Childhood Foundation research released at the weekend, showed that problem sexual behaviour in children as young as six, often appears to be influenced by sex imagery in the media – such as music videos, adult magazines, and internet pornography. This is challenging the previously held view that most child sex abusers were responding to having being abused themselves. Not surprisingly it identifies this imagery as confusing children on what are right relationships, even at a very early age.

At the same time data from the British Internet Watch Foundation released on April 17, showed that the severity of online child abuse content is increasing, with a fourfold rise in images depicting the most severe abuse, such as penetrative and sadistic sexual activity ACL managing director Jim Wallace today said that it is time to draw a line and for governments to direct the point at which we will go no further and enforce it.

“The tools are available, we simply have to define the standards in the community’s best interest, particularly the interest of the vulnerable members of our community and enforce it”, he said.

Mr Wallace applauded the PM’s criticism of Big Brother; a show that has proven time and again that self-regulation doesn’t work.

“We can no longer allow commercial interests to dictate what is allowed on our computer and television screens, or in films and magazines. Nor can we allow the interests of freedom-of-speech advocates to come before the well-being of children.”

Media Contact: Glynis Quinlan