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Evidence coming on impacts of pornography on young New Zealanders

04 November 2018

Chief Censor David Shanks welcomes the public discussion that will follow TVNZ’s Sunday item tonight about the impacts on young people of viewing online pornography, but warns that decisions on how to tackle the issue must be based on evidence.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification, headed by the Chief Censor, is planning to release the findings of a major research project NZ Youth and Porn in early December.

Shanks says that the survey studying how and why young New Zealanders are viewing pornography today will put the experiences of teenagers at the centre of the debate about internet porn.

“The key thing here is that by putting young people’s actual experiences and concerns on the table, we will have the best chance of making changes that will really help them.”

He says the research findings will offer New Zealanders robust and up-to-date evidence about the scope of the issue, which will help properly inform policy development and regulation, and provide educators, frontline health workers, parents, guardians and young people with tools and information.

“This is a ground breaking and internationally significant study, surveying more than 2,000 New Zealand teens aged 14-17 (nearly one percent of the national population in that age group) about their exposure to online pornography.”

“It’s a rare opportunity to gain a genuine understanding of how young people access this material, why they do it, and what they are seeing in the pornography they’re exposed to.”

“We know that the risk of harm presented by online porn (particularly to young people) is a complex problem, and it is time to make some changes. There is no simple ‘silver bullet’ solution. This research will mean that we are better positioned than ever before to provide effective, integrated advice on solutions.”

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