Crackdown on child exploitation passes unanimously

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Is censorship dead in the digital age?

With the arrival of video-on-demand service Netflix and the replacement of adult DVDs with online porn, Nikki Macdonald – Stuff News (entertainment) – asks whether the censor’s office is more important than ever, or an expensive anachronism.

On a locked floor in central Wellington, staff are paid to watch porn and play video games.

When a vacancy comes up, the office is deluged with eager applicants. But the numbers rapidly dwindle when they’re set a work test. Few can stomach the censor’s daily diet of sex, horror, crime, cruelty and violence.

Behind the first examination door, Juliet* is classifying photos of pre-teen girls with pretty pink hair bows and exposed vaginas; next door Lucy is watching Japanese-style anime clips of explicit rape scenes with twisted messages; Henry is playing shoot-em-up video game Battlefield Hardline and in the adjoining office three senior censors are “having kittens” mulling whether to rate a German film featuring a graphic suicide scene as R16 or R18……

Chief censor Dr Andrew Jack argues censorship has never been more important, precisely because entertainment now comes in so many forms via so many different devices.

And there’s a growing recognition that, to some extent, you are what you watch.

“If I’m watching pornography that’s R18, there’s nothing wrong with that”, says Jack. “Except that if I [Dr Jack] watch large quantities of it it may be influencing the way I interact with real-life women. I think people perhaps are beginning to become more aware that you are the totality of your experience.”

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Stuff: Story by Nikki MacDonald

*Censors’ names [e.g. “Juliet” have been changed to protect their safety.

Reports of NZ teachers’ misconduct increase

Hundreds of New Zealand teachers have been investigated for inappropriate conduct in the past five years.

Sexual misconduct, pornography, violence, alcohol, drugs, dishonesty, fraud and theft are some of the serious breaches of conduct by teachers.

And the number of teachers being reported is on the rise, figures obtained by Fairfax Media show.

In 2014, 427 conduct reports were referred by the New Zealand Teachers Council to the Complaints Assessment Committee (CAC), compared to 252 referrals in 2010.

Of the 427 referrals last year, 69 were as a result of complaints from members of the public.

Conduct issues reported by current or former employees accounted for 214 referrals while 144 referrals were because a teacher recorded a criminal conviction.

In the past five years, 1781 teachers have come under the scrutiny of the CAC with 118 struck off the teachers register.

For many others, there was no further action or an agreement was reached between the teacher and the person who made the complaint.

Subsequently 45 teachers were referred to the Teachers Disciplinary Tribunal and 27 of those were deregistered.

Other sanctions handed down by the tribunal included censure, suspension and conditions on the teacher’s practising certificate.

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Tougher laws on sexual exploitation of children

Sexual exploitation of children will be punished more severely after a new law passed a final parliamentary hurdle.

Those found to have supplied, distributed or made an “objectionable material” face a maximum 14 years in prison, up from 10.

The penalty for possession, import and export also increases, from five years to 10.

And those convicted of a child exploitation material offence will almost certainly go to jail, under the Objectionable Publications and Indecency Legislation Bill.

The bill also targets paedophiles who attempt to “groom” under-16s online by establishing a new offence of “indecent communication with a young person”.

It will apply to texts, verbal and any other communications.

And it closes a legal loophole, ensuring that Kiwis who assist foreigners in sexual exploitation of children overseas can be prosecuted here. [Read more…]

Online porn is an issue that we cannot shy away from says Head of Childrens Charity

Sue Minto Head of our ChildLine service – a registered Childrens Charity – explains why the issue of porn is being addressed with latest campaign.

For over 29 years we have strived to address the issues that young people tell us are affecting them. Cyber-bullying, self-harm and suicidal thoughts are just a few of the subjects we have helped children to deal with and to overcome.

As a charity that fights for every childhood we will always listen to what young people are telling us – which is why we have launched the Childline FAPZ campaign (the Fight Against Porn Zombies).

It is impossible to ignore 18,000 visits every month about exposure to porn on our discussion forums from children and young people or that one in ten 12-13 year olds are worried they are addicted to porn.

We have to remember that these aren’t just shocking numbers – they are real children. These young people are confused, upset, feel like they have to behave or look like porn stars to have relationships and at the worst end are in danger of engaging with harmful sexual behaviour. We cannot ignore the fact there are lots of children who are feeling this way across the UK.

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