An unprecedented ban on the sale of adult magazines and other 'soft porn' material from newsagents, milk bars, convenience stores, supermarkets and petrol stations is being called for by lading child experts in Australia.
More than 30 experts asked Australia's censorship ministers to review the rules by which so-called lad magazines, such as People, Zoo and Ralph, are reviewed, arguing that they are becoming increasingly explicit and contributing to the sexualisation of children.
According to a letter to the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General/Censorship Ministers, signed by former chief justice of the Family Court Alastair Nicholson, World Vision chief Tim Costello, actor Noni Hazlehurst and 34 academics and childhood professionals, such material should be restricted to adults-only premises.
They are particularly disturbed by "teen sex" magazines featuring women apparently aged over 18 but who look younger and are styled with braces and pigtails in sexualised poses or performing sex acts.
Julie Gale, director of lobby group Kids Free 2B Kids, says easy Internet access meant young people were exposed to pornographic images, voluntarily or involuntarily.
"But allowing pornography and overtly sexualised images to be sold in the public arena with easy access for children and teens tells them that this is acceptable," the Age quoted Gale as saying.
"When I've given talks about the porn in the public arena people have often gotten back to me and said, 'I hadn't really taken notice until you pointed it out - and now that I'm actually looking, I can't believe it!'" she revealed.
In a separate action, Catherine Manning of the lobby group Say No 4 Kids has sent a petition with 8000 signatures to the Attorneys-General also calling for tighter restrictions.
Manning said that while many retail outlets did the right thing and segregated adult material, others were unconcerned about the prominent display of soft porn magazines.
"'Exposure to adult sexualised material can send the wrong message to children about what's expected of them as adults. Girls think they should behave like 'porn stars' and boys expect them to," Manning said.
"As parents we can monitor what our kids access at home, online or on television, yet in the public domain they are legally exposed to pornography," she stated.
Author Maggie Hamilton has interviewed more than 70 boys, parents and teachers for her book 'What's Happening to our Boys?', a companion book to one she did about how girls are affected by sexualised imagery.
"What I found so upsetting about the boys I interviewed was the desensitisation around sex and violence ... and it was kids right across the board," she stated.