TELECOMMUNICATION, such as the Internet and social media, has sadly come with a negative aspect where many children are being exposed to pornography.
It is necessary to note that children usually imitate what they see, read or hear.
Therefore, exposure to dangerous materials like pornography not only prompts the children to try to do what they see when they are with other children, but in the long term, this creates a range of devastating effects on the mental, moral and spiritual health of society as a whole.
Pornography introduces children too early to sexual sensations they are developmentally unprepared to contend with, releasing dopamine (a chemical in the brain) at high levels that most children are unprepared to cope with.
This awareness of sexual sensation can be confusing and over-stimulating for the children, causing damage that can last a lifetime if not treated.
According to research, although studies are scarce, investigators see links between young people who access web pornography and unhealthy attitudes toward sex.
Finding pornography on the internet in the modern world is very easy and only needs one to Google the word.
Critics worry about online pornography’s effects on adults’ work and family lives, but even more about its impact on the children and teenagers.
Children who frequent porn sites more often are more likely to view intimacy as a purely physical function and to view women as sex objects.
Boys are much more likely to seek out pornography than girls, and this increases with age.
In one study surveying 471 Dutch adolescents aged from 13 to 18, researchers found that the more often young people sought out online porn, the more likely they were to have a “recreational” attitude toward sex – specifically to view it as a purely physical function like eating or drinking.
In the study reported in the December 2006 Journal of Communication, the researchers also found a relationship between porn use and the feeling that it was not necessary to have affection for people to have intercourse with them.
Boys were much more likely to hold these views than girls, and they tended to hold these attitudes more strongly when they perceived the material as realistic, the team found.
In a related study in the March issue of Sex Roles, the Dutch team found a link between the type and explicitness of sexual media the teens saw and their tendency to view women as sexual “play things.”
The more explicit the material viewed, the more likely young people were to see women in these ways – and Internet movie porn was the only media type to show a statistically significant relationship, they found.
Boys and men are the majority of consumers of such pornography, making it the dominant sexual framework to which boys are socialised and to which girls, as sexual partners, must respond.
One of the reasons why pornography is generally overlooked as a sexual health issue is the generation gap created by Internet pornography.
These days, the most popular and easily accessible forms of pornography contains significant amounts of violence, degradation and humiliation of women, and focused almost exclusively on genitalia.
It is sad that parents continue to be reluctant to discuss sex issues with their children and with the coming of Internet pornography, this has worsened.
On average, our nation’s youth spend more time consuming various forms of media than on anything else.
It is important to come together as parents, teachers and therapists to help society “wake up” and see the devastating effects technology is having not only on our child’s physical, psychological and behavioural health, but also on their ability to learn and sustain personal and family relationships, Pediatric occupational therapist, biologist, speaker, author Cris Rowan recently advised.
As Elizabeth Schroeder, the executive director of Answer, a national sex-education organisation based at Rutgers University, said: “Your child is going to look at porn at some point. It’s inevitable.”
Parents, then, are faced with a new digital-era decision on whether it is better to try to shield children from explicit internet content, or to accept that situation.
At the end of the day, a parent may not kill a child’s curiosity, but they can protect the child by installing parental control software on the computer.
Some parents coach their children to click away from explicit material as soon as it pops up, while others try to be as open as possible, filtering content when children are younger and relying on looser controls for teenagers coupled with frank conversations.
According to experts, the most common mistake parents make is to wait to have the conversation until some incident precipitates it.
“All of this is so much easier if it’s taking place not as the first
conversation parents have about sex, but the 10th or the 20th,” said Marty Klein, a family and sex therapist in Palo Alto, Calif., who encourages parents to be frank and direct in conversations with children.
Another parent explained that he has had regular conversations with his children, unlike his own parents, who talked to him about sex rarely once when he was a teenager, and again before his wedding.
“That’s not the way my wife and I do things,” he said, “because it’s always coming up. They know they don’t go to YouTube without me because there are videos on YouTube where people don’t wear clothes,” he said.
He explained to his children, who range in age from 2 to 8, that the people in the videos are actors who are “pretending to be married.”
It is necessary for parents to understand that Pornography is more evil, and graphic than ever before.
There is need to teach children and together set acceptable standards and boundaries.
One way pornography is finding its way in homes is through mobile phones.
While many families have web filters installed on their home computers, filtering software for tablets and phones is much less common.
YouTube and Related Videos in the sidebar on YouTube.com can also expose children to pornography.
Cable and satellite television can also expose children to pornography in the home.
Unsubscribing to these services can assist sort out such problems.
Friends and schoolmates can also expose children to pornography.
There is, therefore, there is need to teach children correct principles and about standing up for what is right and having the courage to walk away from a bad situation.
Mobile game adverts can also expose children to pornography with half-dressed women (cartoon or otherwise) popping up every now and then.
Besides using ad-blockers, parents can use other software to block these adverts.
Music and art can also expose children to pornography through adverts.
Adjust your user settings and ensure children are not exposed to such.
Even video games that seem harmless may have dangerous or inappropriate content inside. Racing games are notorious for animations of scantily clad women.
Some games may portray sexual activity.
Regardless of the genre, it is important to be careful which games we allow in our homes.
Books can also leak pornography in homes as they may contain material that is simply not appropriate for the family.
At the end of the day, there is no perfect way to protect our families completely from the growing pornographic content found on the internet and through all the channels listed in this article.
The most important thing you can do is to teach families important values and gospel principles they can use to make good decisions. Comments: firstname.lastname@example.org