Want to tackle sexualisation on TikTok? Address the issue of pornography

Want to tackle sexualisation on TikTok? Address the issue of pornography

By Rachael Wong

The incredibly disturbing and explicit content children are being shown and encouraged to create on TikTok revealed by a Daily Telegraph investigation has a direct correlation with the proliferation of pornography in our culture.

“Among the most popular trends were teens recording their Rice Purity Score — an online test that scores people on how “innocent” they are, awarding status for not using a condom, filming sex acts, having a pregnancy scare, having a sexually transmitted infection, being paid for sex and other things too graphic to print. Another trend predominantly featured videos of young girls talking about making a sex tape and posting suggestive pictures in bikinis.”

As I told ABC The Drum on this 2019 panel, despite the evidence, we often fail to consider the role porn plays in fuelling things like sexual harassment and violence against women. As a result, we continue to condemn the symptoms without addressing one of the most critical root causes.

The same goes for the sexualisation of children on TikTok. And not only are children learning from porn and then creating porn-inspired TikTok trends, TikTok itself is a gateway to porn.

Why do apps like TikTok allow and promote so much pornographic material to children? Because what better way to increase app engagement than highly addictive pornographic content.            

If we want to protect children, we need to address the elephant in the room. We need to address the destructive, addictive and predatory nature of pornography.

Rachael Wong is the CEO of Women’s Forum Australia

Women’s Forum Australia is an independent think tank that undertakes research, education and public policy advocacy on issues affecting women and girls, with a particular focus on addressing behaviours and practices that are harmful and abusive to them. We are a non-partisan, non-religious, tax-deductible charity. We do not receive any government funding and rely solely on donations to make an impact. Support our work today.

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