Teens can't be stopped watching explicit media online - report

  • 04/07/2017

Young Kiwis are watching virtually any media that's available online, no matter if it's downloaded illegally or has an age restriction, a new report says.  

Many of the teenagers surveyed also say their parents don't know, or don't seem to care about what they watch.

The latest Office of Film and Literature Classification report reveals Kiwi teens are able to easily access any material they wish via the internet, including age-restricted movies and TV series, as well as pornography and other potentially objectionable content.

Chief Censor David Shanks is encouraging parents to talk openly to their teenagers about healthy sex and relationships.

"It's a significant problem," he told The AM Show. "What is happening right now is they are watching graphic scenes of sex, sexual violence, rape - it's affecting them, it's shaping their attitudes and they're not talking to adults about it. They're certainly not talking to their parents."

"[Teens] love the freedom - that's perfectly normal and natural and there's lots of positive things about that. They're learning a lot of positive things as well as a lot of negative things.

"So I think the opportunity for parents and educators is to understand that's the situation, and to engage."

The report says it's impossible to stop young people watching such content, but recommends parents offer more support and education about what constitutes healthy relationships.

"What the young people are telling us is that they value advice, information, some warning about what it is that they're going to see," Mr Shanks says.

"I'm an optimist, I think overall there's a lot of positive things that come out of this access and the for teens to gain access to information and to have freedom of choice, I think that just needs to be tempered with some common sense and some engagement."