Below are some brief excerpts from the New Zealand Herald. Do my wife, daughter, and perhaps future granddaughters really have to grow up in a world where depictions of graphic violent rape are spread throughout the homes of the nation? Where sexual assault and child abuse are disseminated as pornographic forms of adult entertainment? If it is true, per the indicators below, that for 50 of the most popular porn sites, 90% of the content includes verbal and physical abuse of women, where is the outrage from Congress and from our country’s civic, activist and relgious leadership? We would never allow this in the workplace or in schools, but we allow ISPs to transmit it into our homes without any responsibility to offer us safe alternatives.
Two weeks ago, the children’s commissioner for England, an independent body that has been doing an in-depth two-year inquiry into the exploitation of children by gangs and groups, published a report summarising the current research on porn. Sue Berelowitz, the deputy commissioner, says that it was because porn kept on coming up in the evidence they were hearing.
The 40,000 research papers the report analysed found “a correlation” between the viewing of pornographic material and those who carry out those violent acts.
“It’s also clear that children’s attitudes to sex and sexuality are being affected, sometimes at a very young age. This material is just a few clicks away. And it’s affecting them.”
The academic debate over porn will no doubt rumble on. Porn is so diverse because humans are. It’s also just another area of life in which technology is outpacing our ability to process it.
The free streaming porn sites are only a few years old, and the era of children with smartphones in the school playground is even more recent. Or, as Sarah Green of the Campaign to End Violence Against Women, puts it, we’re only just beginning “a global experiment with our children. And we don’t know what the results will be.”
It’s not my generation who’ll live with the consequences. It’s the 11-year-olds. The 12-year-olds. The 13-year-olds. The ones who are typing “free porn” into their friend’s phone right about now.
The graphic details
• 30 per cent - of all internet bandwidth is used for pornography. (Source: Huffington Post)
• 70 per cent - of men and 30 per cent of women watch porn. The average time spent on a porn site is 12 minutes. (Huffington Post)
• 450 million - Unique visitors to porn sites each month. When combined, Netflix, Amazon and Twitter get 316 million visitors. (Huffington Post)
• 90 per cent - of all content included verbal or physical abuse against women in one study of 50 popular pornographic websites and DVDs. (Violence Against Women)