Censorship is cancer: Young people’s support for pornography-related initiatives (2020)

Lim, Megan SC, Kirsten Roode, Angela C. Davis, and Cassandra JC Wright.

Sex Education (2020): 1-14.

Policymakers are considering initiatives to reduce potential harms of pornography, including educational and legislative approaches. In determining the appropriateness of policies, however, it is important to consider community attitudes. We conducted an online survey with a convenience sample of 1272 young people aged 15–29 in Australia, recruited via social media. Seventy-four per cent reported having watched pornography in the past year. Participants were asked whether they believed that pornography was harmful, and whether they supported or opposed five different kinds of initiatives. Most (65%) believed that pornography was ‘harmful for some people but not everyone’, 11% believed it was ‘harmful for everyone’, 7% harmful for children only, and 17% believed it was not harmful. Eighty-five per cent supported school-based pornography education, 57% supported national education campaigns about pornography, 22% supported a national filter to block all access to pornography, 63% supported requiring condom use in all pornography, and 66% supported banning violence in pornography. Extended responses demonstrated that despite general support for policies, many participants were concerned about how these would be implemented, for example, with respect to the content of education and definitions of violence. Participants wanted initiatives to be implemented in a way that did not introduce harm or shame pornography users.