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Porn Free Movement has engaged thousands of people across the world

Porn Free Movement: “Put simply, we need to talk to kids about porn before they have access to the internet.”

THE social media campaign Porn Free Movement launched two weeks ago has gained more than 17,000 followers on Facebook and reached more than 130 countries. 

Brisbane Catholic Joseph Thorley, who cofounded the campaign and designed the Porn Free Movement logo, said he was in it to help men. 

“Last year, I was part of a team who ran a young men’s rite of passage – they’re 19 to 25 sort of age bracket – there’s guys there who have got erectile dysfunction,” he said. 

“(The men) can’t be with their partner because they’ve been exposed to that much porn that it’s changed the neural pathways in their brain that they can’t get stimulated normally. “These are boys having this problem… I’m just surprised at the age groups.” 

The correct response to the issue of pornography was “true intimacy”. 

Mr Thorley said it did not matter what position a person was in, everyone needed true intimacy in their lives whether from a partner or mates or God. 

“Sometimes if we don’t get that true intimacy, people very easily fall for that false intimacy and it’s not going to help, but they still need it – they need something. 

“I guess that’s just where we need to look after each other,” he said. 

Online, Porn Free Movement has posted videos explaining the science of pornography addiction and news stories looking at pornography’s impact on self-esteem. 

Porn Free Movement’s latest video lesson focused on when parents and caregivers should talk to their children about pornography. 

“Put simply, we need to talk to kids about porn before they have access to the internet,” Brisbane Catholic Paul Ninnes said in the video. 

“Now don’t freak out – you don’t actually have to talk about the topic of porn.” 

He said it was important to talk to kids about safe internet decisions and behaviours online before it was developmentally important to talk about sex or pornography. 

It was crucial to get in first and give children a framework and the skills to handle inappropriate content online, he said. 

And with children accessing pornography for the first time at increasingly younger ages, these discussions were needed earlier too. 

Mr Thorley said many families would be shocked how easily young kids could access pornography. 

“There needs to be some kind of a lockout for kids to keep them safe,” he said. 

With 20 years or so in Catholic graphic design, Mr Thorley said it was good to use his gifts for an issue like Porn Free Movement. 

Part of any campaign’s success was its ability to sell itself, he said. 

“I’ve heard the term frontline evangelism before… and in the modern era sometimes it’s the graphic that people will see before they even speak to somebody,” he said. 

“It’s a weird sort of thing that I can be working in my office and nobody is there… but it still can be classified as frontline work. 

“It’s about finding a way to get a clear message out there, to clearly communicate it, I think with Porn Free (Movement) we haven’t tried to do something that’s showing off creativity or that I’m a great designer, it’s just about getting a clear message out there that can’t be mistaken. 

“It’s harsh but I think it needs to be; we’re not putting a friendly message out there.” 

At the same time, it was not about shaming either. 

Mr Thorley runs a men’s group in Springfield parish and he said the men there would talk about a lot of things but pornography was a “tough area” to talk about. 

“There’s so much shame around it that guys won’t even want to open up,” he said. 

“I think if you take a straight black and white look at the issues of pornography that it’s not going to help anybody – there’s so many sides to it and shaming anybody is not going to help.” 

Facing off against an industry as large as pornography didn’t daunt Mr Thorley in the slightest either. 

“You just have to do your bit,” he said. 

To find out more about Porn Free Movement, go to their website pornfreemovement.com or find them on Facebook. 

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