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How Porn Can Turn Kids Into Sex Criminals


Lately, it feels like I am surrounded by nudity or (borderline) pornographic material everywhere I turn. From random advertisements, YouTube, all the popular movies and television shows, and now, even the most prominent social networking sites have started to disappoint me.

Nudity is everywhere, and if it’s not full-frontal nudity, it’s a picture of a beautiful woman covered in just enough strings to be classified as a bikini. Sometimes it’s a popular movie that shows every conceivable step of a sex scene, all except for the final detail of penetration, and other times it’s in the form of television shows that glorify objectification or adultery.

Did you know that until the 1960’s, married couples slept in separate beds on network television shows? The Brady Bunch is reportedly the first married couple to have regularly slept in the same bed, as opposed to sleeping separately on two twin beds.

Can you even imagine? In 2019, unwed teenagers are getting in bed together on TV every week, and often, they are doing a lot more than just sleeping. The reason nudity or soft-core pornography is normal for us is because our eyes, and more accurately, our brains have grown accustomed to it. We have built up such a high tolerance to nudity, that seeing a movie without a sex scene almost feels like something is missing.

I say all of this to refer to my original point. Why is pornographic content so easily accessible on social media? More importantly, who is this affecting?

According to a study done on Webroot, 34 percent of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content through ads, pop-ups, misdirected links, or emails.

While I agree this is highly disturbing, it made me think, what about the kids who could be affected by this? Adults cannot be the only ones who are unintentionally exposed to porn or content containing nudity. Children these days, sometimes even toddlers, can work an iPad or iPhone more efficiently than some adults.

They can unlock your phone, click on Safari, and find their way to any random website faster than you can turn around and swipe the phone out of their little hands. My question is, who is trying to protect these tiny humans and their innocent minds from this potentially harmful material?

In a 2001 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, they discovered that from the youth between the ages of 15-17 surveyed, 70 percent say that they have accidentally stumbled across pornography online, and nine percent of those say that it happens often.

Then nine years later, in 2010, a Youth Internet Safety Survey was conducted to find out more specifically which age groups were unwillingly exposed to nudity online. 15 percent were exposed from the ages of 10-12. 23 percent were exposed from the ages of 13-15. Lastly, 28 percent were exposed from the ages of 16-17. So according to this specific survey, 66 percent of children were unwillingly exposed to nudity online by the age of seventeen.

This is a huge percentage of our youth whose minds are being polluted without their consent. They are not looking it up or asking for trouble. They are not walking into the world of pornography; they are being dragged into it at the hands of the world wide web.

What’s even more alarming to me though is the rate in which teens are progressively seeking out pornography by choice. In 2016, a study by the Barna Group discovered that 57 percent of teens between the ages of 13-17 willingly watched porn at least once a month on average.

RELATED: 5 Ways to Protect Your Kids from Porn

So why does it matter? It matters because children’s minds can be highly impressionable. What effects will nudity and other adult content have on young boys or young girls? What kind of unhealthy desensitization is happening here?

Let us think about how fragile and delicate a child’s mind can be, and how important their innocence truly is. If this stuff is everywhere, and children are growing more and more knowledgeable of the internet and how to operate electronic devices, what’s in store for these perceptive, new-age kids?

The U.S. Department of Justice says this, “Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions.”1

Never before in the history of telecommunications media in the United States has so much indecent (and obscene) material been so easily accessible by so many minors in so many American homes with so few restrictions.

Covenant Eyes also laid out the potential damages pornographic content can have on children, stating that direct exposure can lead to a lasting negative or traumatic emotional response, an earlier onset of sexual intercourse (increasing the risk of STD’s over a lifespan), or an increased risk for developing sexual compulsions and addictive behavior.

Additionally, pornography can lead to an increased appetite for graphic types of pornography and sexual activity associated with abusive, illegal, or unsafe practices.

In 2005, they did a study of youth between the ages of 10-17 concluding that there is a significant relationship between frequent pornography usage and feelings of major loneliness and depression in these children.

Our children’s lives matter, and their psychological and mental safety should be more important than a pretty girl’s twerking video. I’m not here to throw any metaphorical stones, however, I do think it’s important that we bring to light some of the injustice that’s being done against innocent children especially on social media platforms. It is imperative that we talk about why this happens and what consequences our society might face if this continues.

It’s no secret that we have a serious rape problem in 2019, but more specifically I think it’s deeper than that. I believe our rape problem is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s not just about rape, it’s about rape culture. We blame the victim, we take the perpetrator’s side, and we do not dare question what made this man want to rape someone in the first place. 

Dr. James Weaver says, “In men, prolonged exposure to pornography creates and enhances sexual callousness toward women … [resulting] in both a loss of respect for female sexual autonomy and the dis-inhibition of men in the expression of aggression against women.”

I’m not saying that every guy out there who seeks to fill sexual desires online is a rapist, but it is a fact that most pornographic material promotes violence and aggression against women.

RELATED: What Happened When We Went to a Porn Convention

I don’t believe the progression of rape culture and rape prevalence happened overnight though. Think about the accessibility of the internet in most American households over the last few decades. The massive influx of internet use and accessibility has created a perfect storm for porn exposure, especially for the millennial generations and beyond.

According to a publication from the U.S. Census Bureau, in 1984, only 8.2 percent of American households reported having a home computer. However, in 2003, 61.8 percent of households reported having a home computer. Then in 2011, 71.7 percent of households reported either having a home computer or having internet access at home.

That is a huge shift in internet accessibility in just a twenty-seven-year span. Prior to the 1990’s, for the most part, little boys (or girls) would have to sneak into their dad’s office or garage to find a provocative magazine or occasionally an old tape.

However, in my generation, all you had to do was type something like “boobs” or “butt” into a search engine, and then you are instantaneously surrounded with a surplus of all your wildest fantasies. But unfortunately, as we discussed earlier, with some children it’s not nearly as intentional as googling sexually charged words.

The more internet access a person has, the easier it is to accidentally access pornography. Statistically, the kids in generations to come will have a greater risk of accidental exposure through ads, links, emails, social media, and so much more that we probably aren’t even aware of yet.

In a meta-analysis of 24 studies conducted between 1980 and 1993, with a total of 4,268 participants, studies show that among perpetrators of sex crimes, adolescent exposure to pornography is a significant predictor of elevated violence and victim humiliation.

In other words, this study shows a direct correlation between early-onset pornography exposure and sex crimes. Maybe we don’t have a rape problem at all, instead, maybe we have a pornography problem that is heavily disguised as a rape problem.

Maybe we don’t have a rape problem at all, instead, maybe we have a pornography problem that is heavily disguised as a rape problem.

The way I see it, our rape culture may just be another bi-product of our pornography-saturated world. It makes me wonder how many other undesirable “bi-products” pornography has filled our culture with. 


There are not many “safe spaces” left these days that are entirely free of nudity or overly sexualized content. Truthfully, I feel as though a social network, most commonly used to connect with friends and family should be one of those designated “safe spaces.” The minimum age requirement to hold most social media accounts is around 12 and 13 years old.

Ironically, these preteen years that typically permit social media usage can be more crucial than you might think when it comes to the development of healthy sexual habits. In 2012 the University of Sydney did a study documenting the lives and decisions of 800 regular porn users and among those surveyed, nearly half (43 percent) stated that they first viewed porn between the ages of 11 and 13.

RELATED: Women in Porn Accuse Top Agent of Sexual Abuse, Trafficking

With that said, I encourage you, if you see pornographic material on a social network, PLEASE report it. The content might not personally offend you, so you might be tempted to continue scrolling.

However, I urge you to ask yourself: if you had a 13-year-old child, would you want them to view this? Or think back to when you were 13 years old, and ask yourself if you would have been offended, scared, or disturbed by this pornographic post. I believe our youth deserve to be protected from the world of pornography online. What do you think?

Bring Freedom to Sexually Exploited Women

Photo Credit: unsplash-logoGiu Vicente

Footnotes

  • 1. U.S. Department of Justice, Post Hearing Memorandum of Points and Authorities, at l, ACLU v. Reno, 929 F. Supp. 824 (1996).