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Is porn the new sex education?

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Launching New Zealand’s first Porn Week

Porn is something most people prefer not to talk about. It’s looked down on in our communities and something believed to best be kept to yourself. Through the years, that secrecy hasn’t changed but with new technology, pornography has found its way onto every device. 

Running from November 7-13, Netsafe is launching New Zealander’s first-ever porn week https://www.pornweek.nz. We are raising awareness about sex, pornography, image sharing, power, consent and our communities views. 

By naming the week, we hope to promote safe and positive online experiences and to remove the taboo of sexual conversations. 

Why are we doing this?

For four important reasons: 

1. To expand our resources around consensual and non-consensual sexual imagery sharing, incitement towards violence, false allegations about people and harmful digital communications.

2. To educate New Zealanders that since April 2022 it is now a criminal offence to explicitly post intimate images and recordings without consent punishable by up to two years in prison. https://netsafe.org.nz/harmful-digital-communications-unauthorised-posting-of-intimate-visual-recording-amendment-act-2022/

3. To remind New Zealander’s they can report wrongdoing anonymously to Netsafe. As a board member of INHOPE  ( www.inhope.org) we are part of a collaborative network of hotlines in countries all around the world that are working together to combat child sexual abuse.

4. To continue building relationships and reach more people with our messages of online safety. In this area we have partnered with the Light Project experts to reach teens across the nation and have a grown-up conversation about consent, responsible nude image sharing, fantasy, risks, and opportunities and shifting narratives. We have also been supported by the Classification Office with suggested wording and feedback on approaches. 

What messages are we bringing?

Pornography is available on the internet and through most social media meaning young people and teens are exposed from a very young age. 

In today’s ‘always online’ world, no information-vacuum goes unfilled. Search engines and apps are at the tips of everyone’s fingers serving up information to all. 

UNESCO  has been at the forefront of pornography presence on devices for many years (see https://en.unesco.org/sites/default/files/unesco-swtiched_on-technical_brief.pdf). In 2018 they said,“Countries are increasingly acknowledging the importance of equipping young people with the knowledge and skills to make responsible choices in their lives, particularly in a context where they have greater exposure to sexually explicit material through the internet and other media.”

With pornography continuing to expand its online reach, it’s important to start pursuing an educational approach with our youth instead of treating pornography as a topic that isn’t discussed. 

A shared voice 

Partnering with like-minded organisations opens new avenues for Netsafe to help more people. Through our partnership with the Light Project, we have found a committed and professional working relationship that allows us to speak with people in a non-judgmental way. 

We are working too with a dedicated media partner the Spin-off to deliver a level of creativeness which is crucial in opening dialogue about sexual topics, online safety and talking through the taboo in a well-researched way. 

New Zealander’s can expect to read a range of journalist feature articles, plus interact with our dedicated microsite to read up on the facts. 

Young people can leave their thoughts anonymously about the nuances involved with pornography and online spaces. There is also an interactive quiz to inform conversations about a wide range of topics. 

Deep Fakes 

We are using the week as a focus of our campaign to have the Harmful Digital Communications Act modernised to regulate deep fake technology. 

Deepfakes are the result of technology employing “deep learning” artificial intelligence to create hyper-realistic, doctored video content without the consent of those being portrayed. 

The technology is widely used to create sexually explicit depictions of people, as well as altered videos of politicians and other public figures.

On 28 October the Ministry of Justice confirmed it intends to investigate the issue. We are making sure this results in removing any ambiguity under the Harmful Digital Communications Act – that artificial intelligence can’t be used to harm an individual. Nowadays that simply isn’t the case. 

Get involved 

Netsafe is committed to representing a wide range of folks across the week and all information we will be presenting will be made to educate and include people from all demographics. 

Not only will Porn Week raise awareness of common sexual topics and information, but it will also involve many inclusive events that are often overlooked in high school sexual education courses such as what is ethical pornography and what do you need to know about commercial platforms such as only fans accounts. 

To find more information check out https://www.pornweek.nz and you can follow Netsafe’s Instagram https://www.instagram.com/netsafenz/ or Twitter https://twitter.com/netsafeNZ

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