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null Porn: The who, what, where, when, how, why and why not

Porn: The who, what, where, when, how, why and why not

Year level: 9 or 10


Students use the graffiti wall strategy and the Laugh and learn to develop an understanding of what porn is, how people may come across porn, why people access porn and its possible harms. Strategies for dealing with unwanted exposure to porn are also discussed. 

Learning focus

Year 9

  • Factors that shape identities and adolescent health behaviours, such as the impact of: cultural beliefs and practices; family; societal norms; stereotypes and expectations; the media; body image (ACPPS089).
  • Skills to deal with challenging or unsafe situations: refusal skills, initiating contingency plans; expressing thoughts, opinions, beliefs; acting assertively  (ACPPS089).
  • Impact of external influences on the ability of adolescents to make healthy and safe choices relating to: sexuality  (ACPPS092)

Year 10

  • The impact on societal and cultural influences on personal identity and health behaviour, such as: how diversity and gender are represented in the media (ACPPS089).
  • Analysis of images and messages in the media related to: alcohol and other drugs; body image; relationships (ACPPS092).
  • Critical health literacy skills and strategies: evaluating health services in the community; examining policies and processes for ensuring safer behaviours (ACPPS095)

Key understandings

enlightenedPorn is NOT reality; it's a performance (often with paid actors) - it does not show real life sex and relationships.

enlightenedPorn can create unrealistic expectations of self and others:

  • how they look
  • what they do
  • how they act
  • how they treat each other.

enlightenedPorn is not a reliable or accurate sex educator.

enlightenedPornography often does not consider or demonstrate consent, respect and safety - all essential in a respectful relationship.

enlightenedThere are other better and more reliable ways to find out about real respectful and intimate relationships.


  • Laugh and learn video - Porn (4min 40sec)
  • Graffiti wall display cars - who, what, where, when, how, why, why not (colour or B&w) - 1 set
  • Sticky notes or small scraps of paper (Approximately 6-10 pieces per student)
  • Access to website - eSafety Commissioner (link in instructions below)

General capabilities

No General Capabilities values have been selected.

No Australian Curriculum values have been selected.

Blooms revised taxonomy

No Blooms values have been selected.

Inquiry learning phase

No Inquiry Learning phase values have been selected.

Before you get started

  • Preview Laugh and Learn video - Porn (4min 40sec) to determine suitability for your students.

  • Be aware that some students undertaking this lesson may have viewed pornography either purposely or accidentally. Some may not be aware of what porn is at all. Emphasise that you do not want to know who has or hasn't seen porn. Be prepared for possible disclosures and know protective interrupting techniques. 

  • There are many definitions of pornography. The Oxford Dictionary definition of pornography (as used in this activity) is 'Printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement.'

  • Consider your own thoughts, opinions, attitudes and values about pornography and be aware of how they may influence the way you present this activity. 

  • Background professional reading: 

Learning activities

Group agreement

Time to complete Group agreement: 3 min

yesTeaching tip: This lesson should only be faciliated by a teacher that knows the class very well and is aware of students background and knowledge. Extensive work developing a safe space to discuss sensitive topics and a well established group agreement is vital before facilitating this lesson. Read: Essential information - Establishing a group agreement for tips on how to create one and what to include.

  1. Revise the class group agreement

  2. Remind students that throughout the lesson they can write any questions down and add them to the question box at the end of the lesson (if they do not wish to ask them during the lesson). See Essential information - Setting up a question box.

⚠️Trigger warning 

  1. laugh Say:

"This lesson covers the topic of pornography which some students might find challenging. Please let me know if you need to take a break."

yesTeaching tip: Strict timing of activities is essential in order to keep students focused and on track with this lesson and to avoid too much 'side conversation'. It may be useful to have additional adults in this session (e.g. Community health nurse)


Time to complete Definition: 3 min

  1. laugh Ask students:

What do you understand by the term 'pornography'?

Stress that you do not want to know who has or hasn't seen porn and you do not want stories. (Refer back to the group agreement.)

  1. Take answers from volunteers. 

(Possible answers may include: videos of people having sex, sex online, pop-up ads, sexy videos on your phone. Less likely answers may include: nudes, nude magazines, etc. Young people may also list websites where porn can be accessed and/or name categories or types of porn. Teachers need to consider how this discussion will be managed and directed).

yes Teaching tip: Pornography can be difficult to define, as there is a general lack of agreement over exactly what constitutes pornography. The definition is largely influenced by the time and context as well as cultural and moral values. 

Pornography has existed throughout history in the forms of cave drawings, erotic fiction, nude magazines, video tapes and DVDs. In the online era, pornography can be in the form of online videos, online images, live video cams, sexting, social media, dating apps, messaging, pop-ups, the list goes on. Young people today generally do not consider still images or text as pornography. 

Whether a photograph is considered pornography is largely down to context. For example, a picture of a naked person in a magazine such as National Geographic would not typically be considered pornographic, because it is not designed to sexually arouse. A photo featuring an individual in the same stages of undress will likely be considered pornography when it is displayed in the pages of an adult magazine that is intended to elicit arousal. 

  1. laugh Say:

"There are many definitions of pornography. The Oxford Dictionary definition of pornography is the one we are going to use in this activity. Pornography is...

Printed or visual material containing explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excite."

Laugh and learn video - porn

Time to complete Laugh and learn video - porn: 10 min

  1. Watch Laugh and learn - porn video (4min 39sec)

  2. laugh Ask:

❓ Think about 1 piece of information that surprised you in this video.

  1. Take answers from volunteers.

(Possible answers may include: Didn't think that it was fantasy; hadn't thought about consent or safer sex issues before; thought it would have been more realistic; etc).

yes It is vital to only ask for volunteers to contribute to class discussions on sensitive topics such as porn. See group agreement - 'right to pass' for further information. 

Graffiti wall: The who, what, where, when, how, why and why not

Time to complete Graffiti wall: The who, what, where, when, how, why and why not: 15 min

yes Teaching tip: It is not advised that this activity be carried out in small groups due to the sensitve nature of the topic. Teachers need to faciliate this activity carefully, being prepared to protectively interrupt and ensure discussions remain respectful and 'on track'. 

  1. If room allows, have students sit in a horseshoe arrangement and place the Graffiti wall display cards in the middle of the group to allow for close monitoring of student discussions/input. (If space is not available, the Graffiti wall display cards can be placed on the walls around the room).

yes Teaching tip: This activity could be run outside or in a hall as long as the area provides enough privacy for students to feel safe to participate in the lesson.

  1. Place the 'What?' Graffiti wall display card in the centre of the floor space/wall. Provide students with small scraps of paper or sticy notes to write on. 

  2. Place the 'Who?' Graffiti wall display card on the floor/wall and ask students to silently and individually think about their own answers to the question. 

  3. After 30 seconds, invite students to write answers on sticky notes/scraps of paper and place them around the 'Who?' card. Remind students that you do not want personal stories or names of people.

Answers will vary greatly depending on values and experiences. Teachers may need to address stereotypes (e.g. only guys watch porn) and values (e.g. weirdos watch porn). All sorts of people, everyone, guys, not girls, old men, horny people, teens, over 18 years, women, young people, creeps, weirdos, perverts, sex addicts

  1. Repeat this process for the 'Where?', 'When?', 'How?', 'Why?' and 'Why not?' cards allowing students to first think about their answers silently and individually before calling upon students to place their sticky notes/scraps of paper.

Possible answers:

Where? Students are likely to say places such as online, on phone, pop-up ads. They are less likely to suggest nude magazines, sexting, naked sexual photos of themsleves or peers (nudes), porn DVDs, naked video cams, sex phone lines, erotic novels as porn. Some students may list porn sites - it is important to think about how you want to guide this discussion depending on the experiences of other students in the room. Discussions on whether some music videos, billboards, artwork and TV/magazine adverts could be considered porn could be included. Students may also listed places such as: in a bedroom, at a party, at a friend's house, etc. 

When? Students are likely to acknolwedge that it is easy to access porn anytime or accidentally. Some may acknowlege that it is something to do in private. Some students may raise the topic of age (i.e. when youare 18, you can watch R and X-rated movies are for 18+). See FAQ: Is it illegal to watch porn?

How? Online, on purpose/accidentally, on your phone/computer/ipad, sex store, friends sending it to you, group chat, pop-ups, buy online, buy in shop, sign in (over 18 years). NB: It is important that these answers come from students. The aim is not to inform students of places to access porn but to make them aware that it is easy to come across porn accidentally. It is also to educate young people that some sexting and group chat messages could be considered porn.

Why? Curiousity, it's funny, because they are horny, because they want to masturbate, enjoyment, to be part of a crowd, to learn about sex. 

Why not? It is not realistic, it can objectify and exploit women/men/all genders, often violent and aggressive, doesn't portray respectful relationships, not a good way to learn about real and respectful sexual relationshiops, etc. 

See Graffiti wall teacher answer sheet for more detailed lists of possible answers. 

yes Teaching tip: This activity may be completed electronically using programs such as Mentimeter to allow students to contribute answers more anonymously (allowing them to feel safer to contribute without judgement from peers). However, this may make student answers harder to monitor/direct if 'off track'. 

What to do if you don't want to see it

Time to complete What to do if you don't want to see it: 8 min

  1. laugh Ask:

❓ If someone comes across porn that they do not want to see, what are some of the feelings they might have?

(Uncomfortable, distressed, embarrassed, worried, disgusted, feel bullied, unsafe, guilty, shocked, icky, sick, have 'butterflies' in their stomach, etc).

❓ What actions can someone take if they feel this way? (Create a list as students suggest answers and make sure to add any they have left out)

  • Press delete.

  • Be assertive and tell the person showing you that you are not interested and ask them to stop.

  • Walk away.

  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust (e.g. trusted adult in your family, or a friend or at school, counsellor, etc).

  • Report it officially (can be anonymously).

  1. Show the eSafety Commissioner home page and how to report offensive or illegal content. (The WA Police website - Internet safety also offers ways to report illegal content and abuse). 

Reflection: key words

Time to complete Reflection: key words: 6 min

  1. laugh Say:

"I am going to write 5 key words that I think came out of this lesson. I want you to consider what you think were the key ideas of this lesson and record your 5 words."

  1. Write consent, fantasy, reality, relationships, education (these could be on the IWB with a cover, on sticky notes, or a piece of paper folded).

  2. Ask for suggestions from students as to what your key words might be. Compare with student suggestions to see if they were able to identify the key ideas/concepts of the lesson.

yes It does not matter if the students get the same words or not. This activity will allow students to reflect on their learning and allow the teacher to gauge what students have learnt from the lesson. Key words are also a great exercise for CaLD students, students with lower literacy levels and/or special needs.

Take home message

Time to complete Take home message: 5 min

  1. Remind students of the take home messages:

enlightenedPorn is NOT reality; it's a performance (often with paid actors) - it does not show real life sex and relationships.

enlightenedPorn can create unrealistic expectations of self and others:

  • how they look
  • what they do
  • how they act
  • how they treat each other.

enlightenedPorn is not a reliable or accurate sex educator.

enlightenedPornography often does not consider or demonstrate consent, respect and safety - all essential in a respectful relationship.

enlightenedThere are other better and more reliable ways to find out about real respectful and intimate relationships.

  1. Tell students that there will be links to information for parents on the school website/newsletter so they can be more informed too.

  1. Question box: Give out some small scrap pieces of paper and allow students time to write any questions they have for the question box. To ensure confidentiality, ask all students to write something on the scrap paper at the same time (even if the just draw a smiley face or scribble) and place it in the question box.

  2. Remind students that Get the Facts has a completely confidential 'Ask a question' service that they may wish to use. All questions are answered by a qualified health professional within a week. 


Optional activity: Porn - what you should know

The practical guide to love, sex and relationships is a free national resource developed by the Australian Research Centre for Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University. It contains lesson plans and resources for Years 7-10. 

Porn, what you should know is a 6 min animated video with accompanying lesson plan and activities that is designed to explain the differences between real-life sexual relationships and porn sex to help young people to critically anaylse porn (and other media in general).

Porn, what you should know - lesson plan and resources (external link) (PDF 557KB).

Porn, what you should know - 6min video (external link). 


Health promoting schools strategy

Background teacher note: Health promoting schools framework.

Partnerships with parents

Keep parents informed of issues of online pornography and their child by cutting and pasting the following information and links to your school newsletter and/or website. 

Online pornography education

  • eSafety research on parenting and pornography shows that 77% of families with children between 6 and 17, consider it their responsibility to educate them about pornography. 

  • How parents reacted to finding out their child had been exposed to pornography 

    • spoke to them frankly - 61%

    • increased monitoring/supervision of what they do online - 19%

    • installed internet filters - 20%

    • talked to the person who sent/showed them the material - 19%

  • While half of parents said they know where to access parental information and resources about children and pornography, a quarter of parents surveyed did not. 


eSafety resources 

The eSafety iParent site offers clear guidance for families about how to discuss online pornography with chidlren of different ages and includes conversation starters.

0-8 years: if they have seen it, avoid punishing them.

8-12 years: build trust and start an ongoing conversation.

12 years and above: start to talk about thoughts they may be having and the difference between pornography and real life. 

Offensive or illegal content can be reported via the eSafety Commissioner (external link).

Further advice on talking to young people about pornography can be found on the Raising Children Network site (external link). 

The pornography problem plaguing parents - Free 75min webinar suitable for parents from Dr Kirsty Goodwin (external site).



Further professional reading

The effects of pornography on children and young people 2017 - AIFS (external link)

Parenting and pornography: findings from Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom: Summary report 10/12/18 (PDF 459KB).

Some of the key findings include:

  • the risk of children's exposure to pornography was a strong concern for parents

  • parents were relatively confident about their ability to see out relevant information and deal with their children's potential exposure to pornography

  • only a minority of parents in Australia and New Zealand though their children had been exposed to pornography.

Collective Shout is a grassroots campaigns movement against the objectification of women and the sexualisation of girls. It is for anyone concerned about the increasing pornification of culture and the way its messages have become entrenched in the mainstream society, presenting distorted and dishonest ideas bout women and girls, sexuality and relationships.