As White Ribbon Day events are held across Australia today, an opportunity to reduce domestic violence has been passed up by a committee inquiring into the effects internet pornography has on the way children negatively view women.
According to the Australian Christian Lobby, the Environment and Communications References Senate Committee report, released Wednesday, ignored requests for a ISP-level default internet clean feed, which would significantly reduce a child’s exposure to porn which impacts on the way women are viewed.
Confusingly, this report comes just days after a NSW Government committee recommended ISP filtering as a part of its strategy to prevent the sexualisation of children.
Australian Christian Lobby spokesperson for women and children, Wendy Francis said: “Many parliamentarians are today wearing the white ribbon, yet by ignoring ISP filtering we have missed the opportunity to prevent the pornification of our children which we know leads to domestic violence.”
“Online pornography is often violent and aggressive as pornographers seek to push the boundaries,” Ms Francis said.
“Allowing children to be exposed to pornography is a form of abuse and often results in them being abusers of women as children or later in life.
“The ACL is disappointed that parent’s concerns have not been taken seriously in regards to their children’s safety on the internet.
“It is disconcerting that this report release coincides with Sexpo in Melbourne that specialises in parading degrading acts involving women tied up,” Ms Francis said.
The Australian Medical Association gave evidence to the inquiry that showed exposure and consumption of internet pornography was strongly associated with risky behaviour among adolescents. The AMA said a range of studies demonstrated a strong link between exposure to sexually explicit material online and adverse sexual and mental health outcomes.
“They further submitted their belief that premature exposure to sexualised images and adult sexual content has a negative impact on the psychological development of children, particularly on self-esteem, body image and understandings of sexuality and relationships,” Ms Francis said.
The Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare submitted that pornography 'normalises sex acts that many women may experience as degrading, painful or violating'.
Ms Francis said the UK-inspired ISP-level filters were designed to block pornography and other sites deemed "inappropriate" for children as a default. Adult customers can choose to opt out of the filter.
“Instead of taking steps that would make a real difference in restoring healthy relationships, the committee has recommended another inquiry,” she said.
“The fact that the committee recommends another ‘inquiry’ by another group of people is very disappointing for parents and all who care about our children’s welfare.”