As has been documented so often, porn impacts everyone and is exceedingly harmful. Of real concern is the easy access children have to pornography nowadays. One older study found that 10 to 15-year olds can readily access porn sights, and they have a “remarkably blasé” attitude towards Internet porn. They even said porn filters were unnecessary and unwelcome.
And a study by the former Australian Broadcasting Authority found that almost half of Australian children who use computers have been exposed to pornography on the Internet. They usually stumble upon the objectionable material while searching for something else, or by unsolicited emails. The study says this happens even though 84 per cent of parents supervise their children’s Internet use.
A more recent study found that nearly one in five Australian children has been approached online by a stranger. And 47 per cent have been exposed to pornographic or other inappropriate material. Another study found that one in six children as young as eight have been exposed to porn while on the Internet, and that 40 per cent of children aged between eight and 13 have found websites they know their parents would forbid them seeing.
A still more recent Australian study found that 97 per cent of girls under 15 had seen Net porn, while 100 per cent of boys under 15 had seen it. Other research paints a similarly depressing picture: “An estimated 70 per cent of boys have seen pornography by the age of twelve and 100 per cent by the age of fifteen. Girls are also increasingly exposed to pornographic images… Australian author Joan Sauers found that 53.5 per cent of girls twelve and under in Australia have seen pornography, 97 per cent by the age of sixteen.”
And a US study of 1,500 teens found that 42 per cent of Internet users aged 10 to 17 said they had seen online pornography in the past year. Two-thirds of these said it was uninvited. Other recent figures are also greatly concerning: “The average age of first exposure to porn is 11, but children as young as 6 are asking their parents about pornography they saw on the smartphones of older children.”
What is worse, children accessing porn on the Internet and elsewhere are now acting out what they have seen. For example, child protection experts are warning that Internet porn is creating a new generation of sexual predators as young as six years of age.
The Children At Risk Assessment Unit in Canberra has warned of a huge increase in kids under ten sexually abusing other kids, mainly because of browsing porn sites on the Internet. A social worker at the Unit said that many of the kids thought that pornography was the Internet’s sole purpose.
But let’s put a human face to all this. Consider for example this tragic case from the UK:
A 13-year-old boy told a UK court that he raped his 8-year-old sister after viewing pornography at his friend’s house. The teenager told police he “decided to try it out” on his sister because she was small and “couldn’t remember stuff,” reported the Lancashire Telegraph. The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, pleaded guilty on Monday in a Magistrates Court to rape, indecent assault, and inciting a minor to perform a sexual act on him. The boy has been released on bail to live with his family while his sister is receiving support from specialist officers.
However we sadly have many other similar cases of this occurring. The same article goes on to say this:
But the 13-year-old rapist is not an isolated incident. There have been numerous cases in recent years in which children acted out what they saw in pornography.
-November 2013: A different 13-year old UK boy pleaded guilty to raping an eight-year old girl when he was 10. A pornography addiction since age 9 was said to have played a significant role in his crimes.
-March 2013: Two boys aged 14 and 15 admitted to a British court that they were re-enacting scenes witnessed in violent online pornography when they beat, brutalized, then raped a 14-year-old girl they had tied to a chair.
-March 2013: A UK report found that thousands of British children had committed sexual offenses. In all, 4,562 minors – some as young as five – committed 5,028 sexual offenses over a three year period from 2009-2012. Experts blamed “easy access to sexual material.”
-January 2012: Children’s aid and sex abuse organizations in Australia largely blamed 414 cases of children sexually abusing other children on the explosion of pornography made accessible to children.
-August 2012: A 13-year-old Canadian boy pleaded guilty to repeatedly raping a 4-year-old boy who lived in his foster home. The boy said the idea came from watching “gay porn” on his foster parents’ home computer.
-April 2012: A child therapist reported a case of a 13-year-old boy who raped his 5-year-old sister after developing a “complex fantasy world” warped by “two years of constant porn use.”
Also consider this horrible, and very recent story:
Liz Walker was only six years old when an older girl from up the street squashed in next to her on the school bus and excitedly whispered “Hey do you want to see something?” It was a magazine she found under her brother’s bed and full of graphic pornography. “I felt this sense of disgust, but also arousal,” Ms Walker remembers. “I was catapulted into an awareness of my sexuality I wasn’t ready for. In my six-year-old brain I thought that’s what you had to do to get noticed.”
She started looking at porn every afternoon after school, and trying out the scenarios she saw on other children. Her early sexualisation saw her lose her virginity at 12 and have multiple sexual partners during her teens. “I was seeking out those sexual interactions wherever I could because I had been conditioned to think that’s what women did,” Ms Walker recalls. “I had a reputation as a slut from a very young age.”
She ended up binge drinking and taking drugs to cover up her “emotional deficit”, and spent her late teens and early 20s in and out of psychiatric wards. And she attributes it to that fateful morning on the school bus. “It was all because of seeing that porn once. Before that I’d had no sexual awareness, I had a healthy home environment, there were no other contributing factors.”
Ben Shapiro offers a helpful – and shocking – summary of what we are dealing with here in his 2005 book, Porn Generation:
Internet porn doesn’t only affect adults. Kids are the hardest hit by the internet porn hurricane. The average age of first Internet exposure to pornography stands at eleven years old. The largest consumers of Internet porn are kids aged twelve to seventeen. The statistics are incredible: 80 percent of fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds report having had multiple exposures to hard-core porn, and 90 percent of eight- to sixteen-year-olds report having viewed porn online, most while doing their homework.
Yes exactly right. It is time to take a stand against the porno plague. It is harmful to adults, to relationships, to societies, and it is especially harmful to our children. Enough is enough.
Right now there is a federal inquiry into this subject. You have one more month to put in a submission. Please do, no matter how short. Our children need protection. See here for details: www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Online_access_to_porn