Subject: Taking a proactive and protective stance for 2020

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Dear Friend,

What a bumpy start to the year it's been, particularly here in Australia! I spent the New Year with family in country New South Wales—right in the middle of a fire to the north and two fires to the south—all eventually combining to form a mega blaze. Thankfully, our loved ones stayed safe, but sadly many homes, farms, bushland and wildlife were lost. It was a scary time—more so for those in the direct line. I'm glad I was there and could capture a glimpse of the angst that people feel in times of fire threat—and sure you are in agreement that our hearts go out to those who are now left to rebuild.

Massive disasters like this provide an opportunity for poignant reflection. Given my focus is constantly on the havoc that p0rnography is having on a significant number of children and young people, I've noted parallels between the fires and p0rn culture. Just like the fires, the scope of online p0rn's impacts started small and didn't seem much of a threat. Then came a "suddenly moment" of people realising it's a bigger deal than originally thought, scrambling for strategies and resources to protect their loved ones. Living in the zone of impact creates a much stronger response than watching or hearing reports from others; those directly affected often wonder how this could have possibly happened and are left to pick up the pieces.

When a parent discovers that their 8 or 10 year old child is compulsively looking at p0rn, there's an immediate call to action. When a teacher observes online or offline sexual harassment, there's a scramble for strategies and resources. When a school deals with a wave of sexting incidents or p0rn being watched in the classroom, there's a review of policies and procedures and thoughts turn to what education, strategies and resources young people need.

As we lean into 2020, I encourage you to adopt a proactive and protective stance to p0rn harms. As mentioned in our December newsletter, we created lots of resources in 2019 to support you in your school or community group, and are releasing LOTS MORE in 2020—benefiting local schools and community in Queensland and Australia, and also globally.

RIGHT NOW, here's some proactive and protective action steps you can take:
  • Educators, families, business and community can start the chat about online safety on Safer Internet Day—February 11, 2020. The eSafety Commissioner has excellent resources, so take advantage of all they offer to kickstart your organisation’s own online safety initiatives for 2020! Leverage this opportunity to begin a discussion with children and young people about p0rnography. 
  • Schools in Australia can have one of our presenters visit your school to support students to develop a strong identity and healthy online and offline relationships, and staff with knowledge and strategies.
  • Schools and community groups can secure a booking with me in Wellington  in March, the UK in June, and Canada in September.
  • Globally, schools and community groups can access our online Professional Development.
We are committed to committed to the safety and wellbeing of children and the protection of children from harm, particularly the harms of p0rnography—please ask how we can help.

Till next time, stay inspired.
Liz Walker and the Youth Wellbeing Project team.

Megan Williamson is working in multiple schools across Brisbane. A qualified secondary school teacher, Megan is delivering targeted sessions to support youth with understanding how p0rn and p0rn culture impacts identity (body image, pressures etc.), relationships (including sexting), and sex & relationships. If you are looking to equip students in 2020, please reach out and lock in a date.
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Youth Wellbeing Project, PO Box 1055, North Lakes, QLD, 4509, Australia
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