Internet content

I thank the member for Petrie for this very important motion.

As members will know, I have been working in cybersafety for many years, and I have delivered hundreds of presentations in schools and community groups and more broadly.

I say to the member for Petrie that this is a very real issue, because I can give you the evidence from the children themselves, which many others may struggle with.

One of the things I would say to parents is: why not have a look at your children’s Google history.

You can even google certain words yourself—certain anatomical words, perhaps—and see what you can come up with, and see how many of those sites actually ask a question about your age or what you can have access to.

I also know that some of the young children whom I speak to who are looking at pornographic material are actually choosing to ‘like’ some of the items on there, and, out of those sites, it is not unusual for the site to harvest their name and attach it to that particular product.

I met lots and lots of teaches and thousands of kids.

One teacher of year 8 students—they were in year 8 when they came into that school—told me about three years ago that 100 per cent of her year 8 students had actually accessed serious pornography before entering her school.

That was the age. This gives these young people a very distorted view of relationships and sexual relationships.

Of course, I have also had to deal with the issues around physical and psychological damage that go with learning about sex from a pornographic site.

I asked the parents, when I had the parent sessions: ‘Where are your children right now? Who are they with? What are they doing?’

Generally, they can answer me, and they answer me very well.

Then I ask them, ‘When they’re online, can you answer those same three questions—where are they, what are they doing and who are they with?’

I ask that because they are with someone, they are doing things and they are somewhere.

Those are very, very simple questions that I ask parents.

I do know, from those young people, that they are allowed to have their devices in their rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Often, there is unlimited access for those young people. I also know and warn parents about that secret calculator which is like a vault.

Depending on how much is stored in that vault, you may find some very interesting information and photos in it.

Of course, it is very important for parents to communicate with their children before the first device is given to them.

The family needs to have a discussion as a family about these devices and ask: ‘What are the safety issues and the security issues?

How are we going to use it as a family? What rules are we going to put in place for each other?’

We all need to work with these rules in our families, and we all need to know the security strengths and weaknesses and some of the things that we might come in contact with.

The young kids need to know how to stay in control. I ask them to actually help every other generation.

I ask them whether they know more about being online and devices than their parents, their grandparents and their younger siblings, and the answer is, yes, they do.

So I say they are a key part of the answer.

They are fantastic with technology, and they do need to stay in control.

There are some very good programs out there. Young kids do need to stay in control in this space.

I looked at an article—this is just some of the evidence—from 2015 in a local The Sunday Times.

The article says that, on average, children are 11 when they are first exposed to online pornography and that there are over 430 million porn related search items online.

So your chances of bringing one up are very real, and the chances also are for children. Most of the popular sites stream hundreds of thousands of short porn clips under explicit pornographic categories.

They are very easy to find.

Users can even upload their own material onto these sites.

If you go into the gonzo porn space, you will find that there is no actual pretence of a plot required.

They use descriptors such as ’18 and abused’, ‘cute girl ruined’ or ‘cute girl destroyed’.

We need to talk about violence against women and what this amounts to.

These contain material that shows everything from violation, humiliation to degradation of women—and that is just a start.

I saw the research as well that was quoted from the US that showed that 88 per cent of some popular porn contains physical violence and 49 per cent shows verbal aggression, with women always the target.

Teenagers as young as 15 and young women are seeking treatment. I have spoken to some GPs as to what is actually happening, because these young people are learning about sex from a pornography site.

There are real physical risks in this, and there is an increase in this type of behaviour.

I saw a Netflix documentary that was promoted called Hot Girls Wanted.

International pornography sites do not actually ask for age verification.

A child can claim to be over 18, and most of those sites do not even have the capacity to check their age.

So it is out there. It is there for children.

It is just a click or the wrong word away.

Sometimes it is just kids being kids, yet they have access to this material.

I looked at that secret calculator, that vault app, and it allows for storage of items in a hidden folder.

It is disguised as a calculator, and it can be used to store inappropriate content.

Parents need to be aware and to block these particular apps.

I think parents need to install filters and software onto computers to block explicit adult sites.

There is a real need to communicate with your children to reinforce good relationships.

The Choose Respect program works very well, as do other programs around respectful relationships.

I would encourage every parent to have a look at iParent and check the ThinkUKnow website.

There is some wonderful stuff on there for parents.

I encourage them to communicate constantly with their children.

The iParent portal says there are seven ways to make your home cybersafe, and I would encourage every parent to look at those and block, delete, keep the content and report it.

Young people need to stay in control online, as do parents.

I encourage every parent to have that discussion with their children as early as possible before the first device is given.