Influence of the media

Time to complete Influence of the media: 50 minutes

Year level: 10


Students explore the impact of sexualised imagery on young people's sexual identities and sexual behaviours through the use of music clips and newspaper articles.

Learning focus

Exploring the impact of sexualised imagery on young people.

Key understandings

  • Adolescence is a period of dramatic physical, social and emotional change involving many new feelings and experiences.

  • Sexual feelings are a normal part of adolescent change and need to be managed appropriately.

  • Sexual activity has physical, social, emotional and legal implications.

  • Individuals are responsible for the decisions and choices they make regarding their sexual behaviour.

  • People have different attitudes, values and beliefs towards sex and sexuality.

  • The digital world is dominated by sexualised imagery that can influence sexual identities and behaviours.


  • Internet access
  • Teaching Resource: Digital Era online article [one per pair]

General capabilities

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Blooms revised taxonomy

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Inquiry learning phase

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Related items

Teaching resource (download) Guides

Before you get started

  • Pornography is something that is becoming much more accessible for young people and something that they are being exposed to much earlier than in the past. Pornography is how some young people receive sex education. Current thinking suggests that these factors can affect young people’s expectations of each other and themselves, and also how young people form healthy relationships with others. See the Guide: Young people and the accessibility and influence of pornography for more information on this topic.

  • It is possible that a student may have been involved in a traumatic experience relating to pornography and sexual harassment. It is important that teachers are familiar with the Guide: Dealing with disclosures and have a risk management strategy in place.

Learning activities

Whole Class

Using a case study, students discuss the necessity of sexualised imagery in the media.

  1. Read the lyrics to the Miley Cyrus song Wrecking Ball without telling the students the name of the song or artist (the lyrics can be downloaded from the internet).

    • It's likely students will know this popular hit first released in 2013, but may never have thought about what the lyrics mean.

    • Ask students to consider what the song is about and what it means using the think-pair-share strategy, and then share responses with the class.
  1. Show the students the Wrecking Ball YouTube clip ( [3:41min]. Ask:

    • What are your initial thoughts and feelings about the clip?

    • Do you feel the sexual behaviour in the video clip is consistent with the message of the song?

    • How does the video clip accurately reflect or not reflect the lyrics?

    • If you were 11 or 12 years of age watching this video clip, what impression do you think it would have on you?

Independent or Small Group

Using an online article, students analyse the impact pornography has on young people and their intimate behaviours. Students extend their knowledge to assess whether pornography is contributing to the normalisation of sexual violence and gender equity in our community.

  1. Provide each pair of students with a copy of the Teaching Resource: Digital Era online article to read independently.

  2. In small groups, students discuss the following questions.

    • What is the article about and who is it aimed at?

    • How are men and women represented in mainstream advertising, music videos and popular culture? (think about the setting, the activities they are engaged in, the language that is used by, and about, men and women, etc.)

    • Women are often underrepresented in the media, creating the message that women are unimportant or invisible. Can you think of examples of this?

    • How do you feel about the article? Do you agree with the claims made?

    • How does today's violent pornography found in advertising, music videos and popular culture negatively impact young people and their intimate behaviours?

    • How is pornography contributing to the normalisation of sexual violence and gender inequity in our community?

    • What might young people think about gender and sexuality if they only got their information about these topics through advertising, music videos and popular culture and did not receive sex education like you are getting? 


  1. Ask students to share their responses from the group task.

  2. Discuss differing views and any misconceptions (e.g. sex vs gender).

  3. Highlight the Think u know and websites for support and further information.



External related resources

The practical guide to love, sex and relationships 

A teaching resource from the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University.

Year 7/8

Topic - Porn, what you should know

  • critically thinking about sexual imagery - what is 
  • Working things out.