Community organisations can support young people, parents and schools to address pornography’s influence.
Whatever your role with young people, you can play a part in addressing pornography’s impact on them. Obviously, what is appropriate will vary according to your context, role and skills. But, even if you never mention pornography with a young person, you can make an important contribution, for example, by managing young people’s access to technology while they’re in your care, and modelling respectful gender relations.
1. Get people on board
The first step in any organisation will be when someone recognises the importance of addressing porn’s influence, and becomes an advocate or driver. The initial driver may be a worker, manager, parent or young person, but in order to create the necessary momentum, efforts to address porn will require management support.
Talk with others in your organisation about why you think porn’s influence on young people needs to be addressed and how. Ideally, identify a small group of staff that will take responsibility to reflect on how these issues relate to the organisation and develop an organisational strategy.
2. Learn about the issues
A solid understanding of the issues is an important foundation for any effort to address pornography’s influence. Learn about how pornography has become mainstream, the nature of the material to which young people are exposed, and how it is affecting their sexual understandings and experiences.
3. Identify the connections
How does explicit sexual imagery relate to your work with young people?
- Is there a possibility that explicit sexual imagery might be accessed, created or shared by young people in your care? (ie Do young people have access to technology while they’re in your care?)
- Are you involved in education with young people on matters related to explicit sexual imagery?
- Do you support schools and parents in their roles with young people? Is pornography an issue you discuss – or could discuss – in your work with schools and parents?
- Does your role with young people include therapeutic work in which the role and influence of pornography might be relevant?
If your work with young people doesn’t relate directly to pornography’s influence, and it’s not appropriate for it to do so, identify the ways in which you may be able to assist young people to develop the frameworks, skills and resilience they require to manage the impact of explicit imagery. For example, in your role with young people, is there opportunity for you to:
- Encourage their critical thinking skills, including critical media literacy?
- Encourage respectful and equitable gender relations?
- Build their confidence and resilience?
- Assist them to develop assertive communication skills?
4. Review current approaches
How are you and your organisation currently approaching these issues? For example:
- Do your policies and practices adequately address risks associated with young people’s technology access while in your care?
- Does staff have the knowledge and skills required to understand the influence of explicit sexual imagery and address these issues with the young people, parents and/or schools they work with?
- Do you and your colleagues discuss issues related to explicit sexual imagery in educational or therapeutic contexts?
- Do you and other staff model equitable and respectful gender relations?
- Do you and your colleagues encourage critical thinking skills with the young people you work with?
- If you work with parents, do you assist them to understand the impact of pornography and support them in their parenting role?
- If you work with schools, do you assist them to understand the impact of pornography and support them to address it?
5. Develop a strategy
Use the results of your review to develop and implement a strategy to address pornography’s influence. Your strategy may include, for example:
- professional learning for relevant staff
- development and implementation of appropriate policies
- supporting young people to build critical thinking skills and resilience
- including support to address the influence of pornography in your work with parents and schools
- processes to ensure your organisations’ ethos, culture and environment promotes and reinforces respectful relationships and gender equity
- regular evaluation.
A range of resources is available to support community organisations to address the influence of pornography. Find out more.