Originally posted at: https://thewest.com.au/news/australia/children-as-young-as-five-driven-by-porn

Children as young as five are sexually abusing their peers after being exposed to pornography, a Senate inquiry has been told.

In chilling evidence that would shock parents, a leading child development expert has outlined a litany of cases where primary school aged children were coercing classmates into performing sex acts including intercourse.

Professor Freda Briggs has also cited her own work that found fathers were watching online porn with their young sons for “fun” because “that’s what guys do”.

The prevalence of internet pornography — especially how children can stumble on it while innocently doing homework — has alarmed federal MPs.

WA Liberal Senator Chris Back, along with WA Labor counterpart Joe Bullock, has set up a Senate inquiry to look at the harm it is causing children, including sexualising them at a young age.

“What prompted it for me has been the number of people who have contacted me that they have little or no control over what their children are seeing,” Senator Back told The West Australian.

Senator Back said he was keen to explore what could be done to protect children, including seeing whether technological advances had made internet-wide filtering possible.

The Rudd Government had promised to introduce internet filtering to block “refused classification” websites but ran into objections it amounted to censorship and would slow download speeds.

The Abbott Government established an “e-Safety commissioner” to promote online safety for children.

Prof Briggs said in her submission there were growing cases of children acting out on what they had seen and experienced by sexually abusing other kids in schools and child care centres.

“Clearly we are paying too high a price for adults’ rights to view whatever they wish regardless of the consequences for young people and society,” she said.

She accused schools of trying to sweep sexualised behaviour under the carpet and urged a greater focus on child protection in school curriculum.

“The problem is that neither teachers, police nor social workers appear to be trained to take these behaviours seriously and respond appropriately,” she said.

“When staff are inadequately informed, serious incidents such as rape have been dismissed as “boys will be boys”, or it’s “normal sexual experimentation”, when it clearly isn’t.”

A WA Police spokeswoman said child on child sexually abuse was not a trend that had been seen in the State and almost all offenders were adults.

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