What can schools do to address pornography’s influence?

Each school community is different, but there are some basic steps involved in creating an effective response to pornography’s influence in any school.

The most effective approach to addressing porn’s influence – or any of the many other issues affecting students’ wellbeing – involves collaboration between schools, parents and the broader community. In this whole school approach, the key messages are reinforced across the school community, through the school’s policies, culture, staff, parents, community partnerships and student education.

Each school community is different, and it is important that these differences are taken into account – particularly on such a sensitive issue. However, there are some basic steps involved in creating an effective response to pornography’s influence in any school.

1. Get people on board

The first step in any school will be when someone recognises the importance of addressing porn’s influence, and becomes an advocate or driver. The driver in your school may be a sexuality or health teacher, but they may be a school nurse, counsellor, parent or principal. Or you may have more than one driver.

Wherever the momentum begins, leadership support is an essential foundation to an effective whole school approach to addressing issues related to pornography. Informed and supportive principals and other decision-makers can facilitate the kinds of changes and access to resources required for a comprehensive approach. Without leaders’ support, any strategies implemented are likely to be limited in reach and impact. Ideally, a small team of people – a school leader, teachers, wellbeing staff, parents and students – will work together to develop a whole school plan.

2. Learn about the issues

A solid understanding of the issues is an important foundation to an effective school-based approach. 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. Review what your school is already doing

All schools will already address the influence of pornography at some level; for example, through policies addressing acceptable use of technology and students learning about respectful communication. But few schools have developed a considered, comprehensive approach to the issues.

Review your school’s existing curriculum, policies, professional learning, parent engagement, community partnerships, culture and student education in order to learn what your school is already doing well, and identify any gaps.

4. Develop a whole school approach

    Using the review results, develop and implement a plan to address pornography’s influence through:

  • professional learning and resources for relevant teachers and wellbeing staff
  • sequential, age-appropriate curriculum
  • parent engagement and education
  • relevant policies
  • partnerships with community organisations
  • a school ethos, culture and environment that reinforces the key messages
  • regular evaluation.

It’s time we talked can support school leaders, teachers and wellbeing staff to address the influence of pornography with their student and parent communities. FIND OUT MORE