Pornography

If you are under 25 and you are unsure about your rights or responsibilities, or what to do next, you can get free and confidential legal help here. This page explains the law about viewing pornography online.

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Viewing pornography online

Generally, it is not illegal for someone who is under 18 to view porn on the internet. Technically it is illegal to upload a video of someone having sex online. This is because videos that show consenting adults having sex (without offensive violence, fetishes, or abuse) are usually classed as X18+ and videos that show violent, cruel or otherwise offensive adult sex, sex with minors or sex with animals are refused classification (RC). Both X18+ and RC videos are technically ‘prohibited’. This means that the Australian Communications and Media Authority can request that they are removed, however, it is generally not against the law to look at these videos for personal use.

When is viewing pornography illegal?

It is illegal to view pornography if the people in the video are under the age of 18 (or appear to be under the age of 18).

While it’s not usually against the law to view porn online, viewing porn that’s violent/abusive or viewing porn too often can sometimes be unhealthy. If you have seen something online that is troubling you, or you would like to speak to someone about viewing pornography online, we encourage you to contact the Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

Child pornography

Child pornography, because of its harm to children, has its own set of rules. Child pornography is defined as a photo, video or other images (including animations, cartoons or text) that shows someone under 18 engaging in sexual activity or depicted in a sexual way e.g. nudity or posing sexually.

It is against the law to ask for, make, send or have child pornography – even if it’s just a picture of you or someone you know.  

If you’re under 25 and you have a question about pornography that we haven’t answered here, please ask us a question here and we can give you some free information and advice.

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The law is different in each state and territory. Please select your state or territory to view legal information that applies to you.