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Uncovering the Invisible

6 April 2023 | Posted in Student Protection

Uncovering the Invisible

Katherine Olsen

By Katherine Olsen

Student Protection Coordinator

Townsville Catholic Education

Please see below an article from Linewize - for further information, visit

While there are physical indications of how a child is feeling, there are numerous other ‘invisible’ or hard to access cues that exist within the child's digital world. For example, mental health issues or self-harm thoughts are often discussed with friends in online forums or emotions are expressed in documents that can be quickly deleted. Without prompt intervention these behaviours can escalate into serious problems.

The iceberg effect is where only a portion of the child's holistic wellbeing is visible i.e. the things kids do and share and more importantly, the things they don’t - representing a significant blind spot that can impede student outcomes.

A story from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation

*Angelina’s story is a likely story, based on the findings of research. Angelina is not a real individual.  

When Angelina* first watched the Disney movie Frozen, she promptly became obsessed. For the next several months, little Angelina could constantly be found toddling about the house, singing “Let it gooooo” at the top of her lungs.  

Brave and beautiful Elsa became Angelina’s idol. On Halloween, Angelina donned an Elsa costume. When she turned 6-years-old, she had an Elsa-themed birthday party. At school, she invariably spent her recesses playing “Elsa and Anna” with her best friend Carlie. (Angelina was always Elsa. Carlie was Anna.)  

One day, Angelina was on her mother’s iPad. She was allowed to use the device to entertain herself while her parents were busy cooking dinner or working.  

With her tiny thumbs, Angelina typed “Elsa” into the search bar.  

For the next twenty minutes or so, she swiped happily through the videos and songs and images of her well-beloved Frost Queen. 

Then, Angelina arrived at a video titled “Frozen Elsa and Anna Hardcore BDSM.” 

She clicked on it. . . 

We need go no further into what Angelina would have seen that day.

The above image depicts the first page of results when NCOSE researchers typed the words “Elsa Frozen” into Pornhub. For your protection, we blocked all thumbnails and blurred explicit language. But girls like Angelina would not have enjoyed such protection.   

The disturbing reality is that cartoon pornography, often depicting characters from mainstream children’s shows, is more prevalent than you might think. And new research suggests this subset of pornography is apt at drawing in young children like Angelina. 

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