There's nothing worse than hearing about a child who has become the victim of sexual violence, but hearing that the perpetrator was also a child just turns this horrific topic even more incomprehensible.
With video games, music videos, pornographic content and other adult material becoming so easily accessible by children, it seems children have been influenced to the point where they're unable to determine what sort of behaviour is appropriate and socially acceptable.
They're Hetty Johnston's sentiments, too. Johnston is the CEO of Bravehearts, an organisation that works to stop child abuse.
"I think they are being exposed to adult messaging and sexualised messaging at very young ages, so they're exploring and acting out," she told the Daily Telegraph.
According to the Daily Telegraph's report, sex attacks between school students have increased exponentially in the last 10 years because children don't know exactly what appropriate behaviour even is.
If a child plays a video game where bashing and killing prostitutes is rewarded, if they come across pornographic content that shows women being used for the sexual gratification of men, if ideas of sexual consent are not explained or discussed, then of course children are going to watch that content and think that it is okay. Especially if there is no-one there to guide and explain to them the social context for adult content.
Child sexual assaults have reportedly increased by almost 20 per cent over the last decade, while indecent assault has increased by 60 per cent, resulting in 75 sexual assaults and 280 indecent assaults reported by schools last year.
According to one study, early exposure to pornographic material, at 14 years of age or under, has been linked to inappropriate sexual practices and even rape.
Children are like sponges. They soak up all the information that is put in front of them, often imitating and replicating what they see, hear and read.
If you so much as swear in the carpark one stressful afternoon at the shops, you can bet little Bobby is going to remember that and start dropping F-bombs around the house when you least expect it. How can we expect the same level of attention not to be placed on things such as pornography and graphic adult content in video games?
Children act out and replicate the world around them. And if pornography and violence is what they're witnessing, then they, too, will act that out in their lives.
Have you talked about the adult content in video games and television programs with your own children? Share your thoughts and opinions in the comments section below.
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