Australian parents are waking up to their kids being sexualised without their knowledge.
A new Australian children’s book is being sold at Big W, Target, Dymocks and other Australian stores. The book, ‘Welcome to Sex’, is basically a graphic sex guide for kids.
The so-called sex education book targeted at 10 to 15-year-olds, includes graphic descriptions of sexual activities like anal sex, rimming, hand jobs, blow jobs, fingering, scissoring, masturbation, and advises children how to send nudes by cropping out their heads. It also aggressively pushes gender ideology on children, undermining the nature and importance of biological sex.
One of the book’s co-authors believes the material in the book is suitable for children as young as 8.
We know that girls experience double the rate of child sexual abuse than boys, which is exactly what this kind of material puts children at risk of.
A cyber safety expert and child psychiatrist have both condemned the book’s dangerous advice about how to send nudes safely by cropping out your head, which exposes children to exploitation, criminal charges, and distorted perceptions of their bodies and worth.
Anal sex, which the book normalises, has seen a rise in women and teenage girls suffering horrific injuries and health issues, including incontinence, tearing and bleeding.
The book is laden with harmful messages, including the normalisation of risky and harmful practices, and the promotion of illegal behaviours.
Within 24 hours of Women’s Forum Australia and other concerned groups and individuals – predominantly upset parents – calling out the inappropriate, sexually explicit material in the book, Big W pulled the book from its shelves.
This is a phenomenal outcome, and shows what happens when we all stand up together to protect our kids.
The book is, however, still being sold online at Big W, and in store at Target, Dymocks and other Australian retailers, as well in being stocked in public libraries and school libraries. This is despite the book being utterly inappropriate for its intended 10 to 15-year-old audience.
While the book's gravely concerning content means we wouldn’t recommend it be read by anyone – let alone children – we recognise that adults are free to read what they like, and this includes this book if they so wish. There are, however, genuine child safeguarding concerns around the promotion to, and accessibility of, this book to children.
The age of consent in Australia is between 16-17, depending on the state or territory (there are also exceptions which can raise the age of consent to 18 years where a person under 18 is under the ‘special care’ of an adult). This book should not be available for purchase by, or targeted at, children below this age. There is no reason children need a how-to manual for any of the sexually explicit acts included in the book.
Even social media platforms have been censoring posts about the book, because the content is deemed to be too explicit. It is ludicrous that a book deemed too explicit for adults online, is considered appropriate for children.
Safeguards need to be in place to protect our kids.
- We are campaigning for these safeguards, including for retailers, schools and public libraries to either remove the book or protect children under the age of 16/17 (depending on the jurisdiction) from accessing it.
- We are contacting relevant bodies about the inappropriate, illegal and dangerous activity promoted in the book.
- And we are continuing to educate and raise public awareness about the harmful nature of the book, so that parents are empowered to protect their children.
- We will also be listening to your suggestions and concerns regarding further safeguards.
For those saying 'the book is sex education' – there is a huge difference between giving children age-appropriate information, and prematurely exposing them to graphic, highly sexualised material.
For those saying 'opposition to the book is right wing, conservative, religious, moral panic' – child safeguarding is not a political or religious issue. It’s an issue for anyone who cares about the wellbeing of children.
And for those saying 'don't like it, don't buy it' – because the book is unclassified, it is accessible to children, even without their parents' knowledge. We have classification laws that protect children from material that is likely to harm them, and there is a critical conversation to be had about whether this book falls short of those.
This book, which normalises child sexual activity, needs to be viewed in its wider context, where across the western world, there is a movement to sexualise children and break down their barriers. It's time to stand up and say enough is enough – leave our kids alone.