Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times IPS240611PORN25A
Photo: Rob Williams / The Queensland Times IPS240611PORN25A Rob Williams

Doctors say pornography problem is bigger than we know

I CAN still remember bee-lining it for the library at South Gladstone State School one lunch time with a small group of friends, boys and girls, maybe five of us.

We found a quiet spot on the floor in a corner and grabbed an encyclopaedia from the shelf - the one with the S words in it.

We giggled quietly as we could and looked up 'sex'.

We were in grade 6, so about 11-years-old.

I don't remember what it said, just how exciting and naughty it felt, especially because there were boys with us.

How things have changed since then.

Last week NewsCorp released a story about doctor's increasing concerns over children's exposure to pornography.

More and more they are seeing young men with performance anxiety and erectile dysfunction and young women with vaginal injuries and engaging more in anal sex.

Much of the problem is put down to exposure to online pornography.

Dr Ginni Mansberg told News Corp Australia the scope of the problem and the impact of pornography was greater than we know.

And frighteningly, it's not just teenagers who are seeing this stuff.

Data by cybersafety group Family Zone shows up to 30 per cent of pre-teens in households with their software - of which there are more than 350,000 daily Australian users - are attempting to access online porn.

This includes 22 per cent of 0-8-year-olds.

22 per cent of 0-8-year-olds! That's almost a quarter.

Research conducted with 3520 parents by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner found some worrying results.

While 77 per cent of parents believed they had full responsibility for educating their children about online pornography, (17 per cent thought schools had full responsibility) one in three said would not raise the subject until their child asked about or was exposed to it, and one in four parents were embarrassed to talk to their child about online pornography.

How do you discuss online pornography with an eight-year-old in a way that respects their right to be children?

Most children that age don't know what sex is, let alone its perverted forms.

Rather than just dealing with the impacts of these things we have to understand how we came to this.

Freedom is a double-edged sword and governments need to look at regulation before its too late, if it's not already too late.

This is a serious physical and mental health problem and one families and individual parents can't be left alone to deal with.

At what price does freedom of the internet come?