Youth Wellbeing Project is a social enterprise based in Brisbane Australia with a global vision to positively impact youth sexuality and wellbeing.
Youth Wellbeing Project supports schools and community with safety and wellbeing education to build online literacy and counter hypersexualised harms. Endorsed as a trusted eSafety provider, we provide classroom curriculum, professional training, student presentations and resources for schools and families. We aim to prevent porn and other sexual harms, enhance children and young people’s online, social and emotional relationships, and fortify children and youth within our hypersexualised culture.
Youth Wellbeing Project presentations, programs and resources offer a positive and respectful approach to relationships and sexuality that understands the developmental stages of young people and responds to the researched harms of pornography. We provide professional and educational direction to guide children and young people to avoid the onset of risky sexual behaviours (online and offline), that may contribute to emotional, psychological, social and other health risks.
7 principles of whole-person centred sexuality education
Our holistic model
The Holistic Model of Sexuality depicts the internal and external forces at work in and around our personal identity. Human identity is a wonderful and complex phenomenon, partly distinguished through the complex and continuous interactions that occur between these internal and external environments. No two people are the same, and the effects of these interactions will vary from person to person. This is why the fingerprint is a perfect emblem of personal ‘identity’. The Holistic Model of Sexuality is designed to capture the process in which these environments are negotiated, and allows for a critical examination of the factors that influence our personal identity. The Holistic Model of Sexuality informs Youth Wellbeing Project presentations and IQ PROGRAMS.
Porn & Online Safeguarding Education
Porn & Online Safeguarding Education (POSE) supports children and young people to build critical literacy skills to minimise porn and other online or contact harms, equipping them for wellbeing. This includes age-sensitive information to inform relationships that are safe, respectful, trusting, consenting and equal.
POSE situates porn education within a framework of balancing content around other pivotal areas of accepted child-development and safeguarding education. This framing will be refined and expanded on in due course; however, as a starting point, we invite schools to consider the following:
Online Safety: Within online safety education, children are taught how to interact in a way that best equips them to make safe choices online. It may include topics such as social media use, identity theft, image-based abuse, cyberbullying, cyberstalking, grooming and exposure to unreliable information or illicit materials. However, for a number of complex reasons, porn is often skipped over or referred to as “inappropriate content”. There is rarely an opportunity for children and young people to understand why porn is an issue that directly and indirectly impacts personal and interpersonal safety. Additionally, it is often the case that there’s minimal focus on helping students how porn can influence their attitudes and online choices, such as engaging in tech-facilitated abuses or being groomed to accept sexual abuses.
There exists the potential to embed POSE within Safeguarding practices and Protective Behaviours Education from a young age.
Protective Behaviours Education is a pivotal life skill. This life skill has been defined by PB West to incorporate the following:
Protective Behaviours is a strengths-based life skill which encourages personal safety, self-empowerment, empathy, connection and responsibility to the rights of others, and responsibility for an individual’s own right to feel safe all the time, giving them confidence and strategies to live safe adventurous lives.
Protective Behaviours develops awareness and connection to others, teaches skills and strategies to avoid victimisation, and promotes healthy relationships that do not victimise.
Protective Behaviours is grounded in upholding, respecting, advocating and role-modelling our responsibility to, and responsibility for human rights, particularly the Rights of the Child.
Protective Behaviours themes and strategies often compliment or form protective education programs for children. A Protective Behaviours practitioner facilitates personal safety, self-determination, agency and self-empowerment in every interaction.
Safeguarding practices consider the broader social context of children and young people’s safety. This has been defined by Contextual Safeguarding:
Contextual Safeguarding is an approach to understanding and responding to young people’s experiences of significant harm beyond their families. It recognises that the different relationships that young people form in their neighbourhoods, schools and online can feature violence and abuse. Parents and carers have little influence over these contexts, and young people’s experiences of extra-familial abuse can undermine parent-child relationships.
Therefore, children’s social care practitioners, child protection systems and wider safeguarding partnerships need to engage with individuals and sectors who do have influence over/within extra-familial contexts, and recognise that assessment of, and intervention with, these spaces are a critical part of safeguarding practices. Contextual Safeguarding, therefore, expands the objectives of child protection systems in recognition that young people are vulnerable to abuse beyond their front doors.
Enhancing Mental Wellbeing is a high priority for schools and community organisations. There exists the potential to incorporate education for children and youth on the science of how porn impacts mental health, focus, and learning. However, without training, staff may not understand the impacts of porn on mental health and wellbeing, and as such, porn addiction (of increasing concern among student cohorts) fails to be addressed. Research, therapeutic tools and videos about compulsive sexual behaviours may be accessed here.
Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) is often ad hoc or inconsistent, and in some instances, misguided and inconsistent with safeguarding, protective behaviours and online safety messaging. There exists a need for non-harmful RSE to acknowledge the ways in which porn undermines pivotal aspects of healthy relationships—those that are safe, respectful, trusting, consenting and equal. An example of harmful RSE is the normalisation of masturbation to porn without acknowledging the ways that porn can influence sexual scripts, or contributes to addictive behaviours and sexual dysfunctions.
Youth Wellbeing Project presentations and IQ PROGRAMS work within the Porn & Online Safeguarding Education framing.
Liz Walker is an international authority on porn harms, education and advocacy, dedicated to culture-shifting initiatives that equip children & young people. An exceptional communicator and passionate advocate for children and young people, Liz provides schools and community education as Managing Director of Youth Wellbeing Project: educating for tricky conversations. Initiatives include IQ PROGRAMS, a whole-school educational package designed to equip educators for the task of supporting kids and teens to author their future; and Porn Resilient Kids: equipping families for tricky conversations through children’s books and resources.
Liz also facilitates parent education in her role as Director of Health Education at Culture Reframed: the global lead in solving the public health crisis of the digital age; and is Co-Chair of Connecting to Protect: a Global Public Health Response to Address the Mental Health and Safety Consequences to Children and Young People Accessing Online Pornography. Well connected internationally, Liz provides consultancy to government, non-profit, and professional organisations; and counteracts porn culture through a ‘Critical Porn Analysis’ educational response.
Based in Brisbane, Megan is available to educate, equip and empower young people, leaders, teachers and parents on how to respond proactively and preventatively to the evolving demands of the digital age. Megan is a powerful and passionate teacher, trainer and youth wellbeing advocate, with over 10 years of teaching and youth work experience. Alongside her teaching degree, Megan has also studied counselling, majoring in youth trauma and resilience. Consequently, she is passionate about establishing both preventative and restorative programs and resources in response to the sexual harms and risks young people are presented with through our hypersexualised culture and pornography.
Based in Brisbane, Chanel is available to deliver relationships and puberty education to Primary Schools. Re-joining the team after a lengthy break to continue studies, Chanel worked with Youth Wellbeing Project in the early days of establishment. Now, having been involved in the education field for almost ten years, Chanel returns as an integral team member to develop curriculum for IQ PROGRAMS – a whole-school educational package designed to equip kids & youth to confidently navigate hypersexualised culture and other 21st century challenges. The educational packages COMPASS IQ for children under 12, and AGENCY IQ for teens over 12, are an integrated part of the IQ PROGRAMS, safeguarding kids and fortifying youth in online and physical environments. Chanel is passionate about training and equipping children with new knowledge. She currently holds an undergraduate degree in International Relations and Cultural Communications studies, and is has completed her Masters in Primary School Education.
Jenny contributes a parent’s voice to the online issues facing parents and caregivers, and is “living in the thick of it” with children aged 18, 16 and 6. Having teens provides significant insight into the online world—in particular, social media and the repercussions this can have for young people’s social and emotional wellbeing. Jenny has worked for over a decade managing her husband’s psychiatric practice and notes a steady decline in young people’s mental health. In response to concerns about children’s exposure to porn, the prevalence of predators, and child sexual exploitation material, Jenny runs a closed parents Facebook group with the aim to ensure that kids will be NOT be left to fend for themselves—and will NOT become the collateral damage of big tech and big porn companies. The group invites members to openly discuss and raise concerns. Not My Kid has joined forces with Porn Resilient Kids, an initiative of Youth Wellbeing Project. Jenny is also in the process of studying a degree in Cyber Security and Behaviour to further her knowledge in this area. She is passionate about educating and supporting families as they navigate parenting children who are often vulnerable in the online world.
Asha is a Canadian educator living in Wellington, New Zealand. She has been teaching primary and intermediate school for the past two years. Prior to her Bachelor in Education, Asha was working as a youth and family counsellor. She worked to help youth who struggled with problematic sexual behaviours and a history of sexual assault. Asha also has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology. During her degree, she took extensive classes on human sexuality. While working as a counsellor, Asha did training on sexually intrusive behaviours. Her passions include sexual health education, raising awareness about the harmful effects of pornography and the study of the human brain. With over a decade of experience working with youth, Asha has dedicated her life to children and teens. Asha is passionate about providing children and youth with skills so that they understand how to be safe in a digital world. Education is the way forward. Knowledge is power.
Naomi is passionate about seeing young people live out healthy relationships. This includes relationships with friends, family and significant others. She is a dynamic and energetic presenter who relates well with all audiences no matter how young or old, experienced in delivering presentations, fitness classes and kinder music. Her unique style encourages interaction and critical reflection even from the younger age groups. When facilitating discussions surrounding the harms of pornography and sexual health, Naomi provides an environment that allows such topics to be explored in a fun, friendly and safe manner. Currently in her final year as a counselling student, Naomi’s main special interest areas include sexuality, spirituality and relationships.
Craig's pivotal role keeps things running behind the scenes. Previously managing a family business for 16 years, Craig now stands alongside Liz to ensure things function efficiently. Craig is enrolled in further education through Queensland University of Technology (QUT), has completed a Business Degree, and is furthering his studies in a Master of Philanthropy and Nonprofit. Craig has experience in business management, a track record in training, development and administration, and extensive experience in sales and the financial sector. Craig is an invaluable part of the Youth Wellbeing Project team – analytical, dependable and meticulous. He looks after the family when Liz travels, and is incredibly supportive of her success and global influence addressing the negative impacts of porn.
Rosielle is an essential part of the Youth Wellbeing Project team and works tirelessly behind the scenes with administration, marketing, design and many other essential tasks. Rosielle graduated with a degree in Psychology from De La Salle University in Manila, Philippines. She loves working for Youth Wellbeing Project because she knows her support is helping make a positive difference in the lives of children and young people. Growing up, Rosielle had questions about body image, sexuality and relationships that could’ve been handled better. In working with Youth Wellbeing Project, Rosielle is energized in knowing that her support helps ensure resources are available to young people to help them build a foundation for a healthy sexuality.
Captivated by online porn as a child, Gabe consistently watched high-speed internet porn from the age of 12. Growing up in a time and culture where watching porn was normal, he had no idea that what he thought was pleasurable, fun and “sex-positive” could actually have a negative effect on him. As time went by his ability to become aroused with a real girl decreased, and eventually became dependent on porn and developed porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED) at the age of 23.
After recovering from an addiction and porn-induced sexual dysfunction himself, he has spent years studying the science of porn’s effects and now runs RebootNation.org, a free, online community with over 15,000 members, which helps addicts and their partners overcome problems related to porn use. With a passion for assisting others and raising awareness, he started an educational YouTube channel, The Reboot Nation, which has amassed over a million views.
Gabe now speaks at colleges and conferences internationally, and was recently invited to speak to the cadets at West Point, and to Capitol Hill to address members of Congress about porn’s impact on youth. He was featured in a TIME Magazine cover story in 2016, and has shared his story with Rolling Stone, MTV, Chelsea Handler, Katie Couric, and many others. He has written pieces for Huffington Post and Cosmopolitan, and has a paper published in the peer-reviewed journal Dignity.
Dr Peter Hoey
Dr Peter Hoey is a consultant general adult psychiatrist working full time at Roseville in Sydney. He completed his undergraduate training at the University of Queensland and is a Fellow of the Australian and New Zealand College of Psychiatrists. He has had university teaching as well as public and private hospital practice experience. He has previously held several executive positions within the Section (now Faculty) of Psychotherapy of the College of Psychiatrists. Dr Hoey’s particular areas of interest are young adult patients and those suffering from treatment-refractory mood disorders. In recent years he has become more aware of the role of the internet, particularly online pornography usage, and social media in the presentations of late adolescent and young adult patients in his practice.
Melissa Willow has been in primary school education for over twenty years. During this time, she has noticed a concerning increase in the overall use of devices by primary school students. In addition, she has observed an alarming lack of knowledge on the part of parents about the multitude of dangers children face when left unsupervised online. Melissa uses her expertise as a school teacher to critique all programs offered by Youth Wellbeing Project. She is passionate about educating students to use critical thinking when making decisions online.
Below we have provided suggestions for other services. These independent platforms are separate to Youth Wellbeing Project and whilst we have a valued relationship with these organisations, we recommend that users of our site investigate the right services for you and your needs.
In the media
Is Free Porn Destroying our Brains?
School kids today are watching porn like never before. It’s free, it’s instant and it’s having a devastating effect. New Zealand TV3 current affairs program 3D has spoken to porn users and porn addicts, as well as a sex educator Liz Walker, and a top international scientist who say this new type of porn can actually alter our brains.
Excellent documentary for the classroom.
New Zealand TV3 3D – October 5, 2015
The importance of education about pornography
What impact is high-speed internet porn having on young people who grow up using it? What are the potential negative effects? 3D New Zealand investigated this topic. This segment focuses on the importance of education. To see the full documentary Is free pornography destroying our brains?
New Zealand TV3 3D – October 5, 2015