Stuff co.nz 4 September 2020Family First Comment: “Ignorance of what can actually be seen very easily online is a major barrier to those of us who are calling for change. We are not talking nudity here, nor even sex really. We are talking about the promotion and escalation of violence towards women. Modern pornography has become aggressive, violent and frequently demeaning to women. Forget Playboy, pornography is now a whole different beast.”And the politicians don’t seem to care You tried, Tracey.Back in June, a draft Cabinet paper asking permission for the Minister for Children, Tracey Martin, to pursue investigating internet filters to keep children from accessing pornography was rejected by her coalition colleagues.She wanted to look into a scheme whereby pornographic material is screened out on all wifi connections unless an adult opts out. There will now be no time for anything to be done in this area in this parliamentary term.Minister Martin has been vocal in her determination to make in-roads in this area. She was “very disappointed” by the reaction.I am disappointed too, Tracey.In the online world we have not placed any restriction on the age porn can be viewed, either accidentally or on purpose. Rectifying this would bring porn into line with other products we believe to be harmful to children, such as tobacco and alcohol.An important omission which needs to be corrected? Apparently not.Ignorance of what can actually be seen very easily online is a major barrier to those of us who are calling for change. We are not talking nudity here, nor even sex really. We are talking about the promotion and escalation of violence towards women.Modern pornography has become aggressive, violent and frequently demeaning to women. Forget Playboy, pornography is now a whole different beast.It is difficult to pin down exact statistics about aggression in porn, because in some research, a behaviour is not listed as violent if the female actor responds favourably to it.The problem with that criteria is that female porn actors are paid to react positively to acts which in real life would be painful, distressing and cruel.For young women who watch porn to find out how sex works, which we know they do, this is literally teaching them to smile at their own abuse. It is setting the bar for male behaviour towards women in a sexual encounter so low we might as well get out a shovel and dig it underground.Minister Martin is not the only person worried about the effects viewing this material is having on our young people who are trying to figure out how sexual relationships work.The Commissioner for Children, Andrew Becroft, has voiced trepidation about what is now facing young people online.“To be honest, in the two years I’ve been in this role, pornography is the most significant underlying concern reported to me by youth workers, community workers and church workers engaged with young people.”The Chief Film Censor, David Shanks, has spoken out often about his concerns, for example the promotion of non-consensual behaviour seen in many videos. He is also troubled by the popularity of the “step porn” genre here, whereby sex is depicted between step parents and children, and step siblings.Shanks believed New Zealand had an opportunity, he said, to be an international leader in getting other countries to join together to force online porn sites to do more to make it harder for young people to access porn.Well, we have just blown that opportunity. Unless the Minister somehow retains her portfolio in the post-election restructuring, we have lost momentum on this.READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/122375375/our-politicians-have-failed-kiwi-kids-not-restricting-access-to-online-pornKeep up with family issues in NZ. Receive our weekly emails direct to your Inbox.