Exposure to pornography is recognised as a real risk for children online, ranking highly, alongside cyberbullying and contact with strangers.

Recognising the important role parents play in protecting their children from risks online such as exposure to pornography, Netsafe New Zealand, alongside the Office of the eSafety Commissioner in Australia, and the Safer Internet Centre with the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom (UK), collaborated on research that explores how parents think, and engage with this issue.

This short report presents the findings of this joint research effort on parental attitudes to pornography. It also furthers the collaboration between the agencies which began with the December 2017 release of the report ‘Young people and sexting-attitudes and behaviours.’

In the past, the majority of international research focused on three points: children’s access, exposure to, and views of pornography and how this can affect their sexual identity development, sexual health, and mental health. Parents’ attitudes and views about their children’s experiences around pornography had not been comprehensively reviewed.

This research report summarises results from the first cross-jurisdiction quantitative study focussing on parents in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom.


View full report


View full report


About research at Netsafe

Netsafe established a research programme in November 2016 as part of its role as the Approved Agency under the Harmful Digital Communications Act 2015. Netsafe’s research explores the relationship between digital technology, people and society primarily in the context of the risk and impact of harmful digital communications.

Netsafe’s research programme is contributing with exploratory research of topics involving adult and young New Zealanders. Our contribution includes:

  • Adult New Zealanders and harmful digital communications.
  • Teenagers and the prevalence of the sharing of nudes (‘sexting’).
  • Teenagers’ interaction with digital technologies and views on online safety.
  • Perceptions of teenagers about digital risks and harm (qualitative).
  • A measure of teenagers’ personal experiences of digital risks and harm.

Work with us

We’ve worked on projects with the Ministry for Women (NZ), UK Safer Internet Centre, University of Plymouth (UK), Office of the eSafety Commissioner (Aus), Office of Film & Literature Classification (NZ), UNICEF (NZ), and Waikato University’s CROW Lab. Find us at the conference to discuss how we can work together, or email [email protected]

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