The Age (Melbourne) (02.13.12) - Thursday, February 23, 2012
A team of Australian researchers is updating sex education
resources to address the widespread availability of online
pornography and teens' exposure to it. The materials being
developed are for universities that train sex education
teachers and for schools.
Teachers must have the skills to address pornography, said Dr.
Debbie Ollis, a sex education expert at Deakin University in
Victoria. The idea of school lessons on the topic might sound
controversial, but youths need to learn to think critically
about pornographic representations of gender, sex,
expectations, and consent, and to distinguish between what is
depicted and reality, said Maree Crabbe of Brophy Family Youth
Services, who is involved in the project.
A 2006 Australian study of youths ages 13-16 found 92 percent
of boys and 61 percent of girls have been exposed to online
porn. A 2003 survey found 84 percent of boys and 60 percent of
girls have been accidentally exposed to such sites.
"Pornography is now our most prominent sex educator," said
Crabbe. Under the "Reality and Risk" project, she and
researcher Dr. David Corlett recorded 140 interviews with
youths, academics, and porn industry workers that collectively
suggest pornography both is widely accessed by teens and
becoming more violent.
The interviews will provide footage for a documentary film,
which is being funded by philanthropists and will be completed
in a few months. Video clips also will be used for audio-
visual resources for classrooms. The researchers are
developing updated teaching materials for the popular
"Catching On" curriculum, in which students will be presented
with diverse scenarios to discuss.