Children vs Net porn: industries without morals

Pornography on the Internet has exploded into millions of pornographic websites. Today it is a booming industry of nearly 100 billion dollars. Net porn invades our homes and destroys families without any accountability to anyone. At noon today, I count 17 phonographic emails on my main computer and there are still 12 hours left. This is a daily occurrence. Just one click and any internet company will allow me unrestricted private access to this and other pornographic materials. This same simple access is in the hands of young children of all ages. Net porn has opened the doors to “children viewing pornography” and “child pornography” by “industries without morals” seeking to make a profit.

Much study is being done on the effects of pornography on the family, eg. infidelity, divorce and frequent mental health issues. Porn is known for its 4 A’s: Accessibility, Affordability, Anonymity and Aggressiveness. It is accessible because it is just a few keystrokes away on the Internet. It is affordable because many online sites offer free pornography to lure viewers to their websites. It is anonymous because it can be viewed in the privacy of a person’s home. It is aggressive because its aims and interests are unduly forceful.

What harm does this cause to the lives of innocent children? If you take a large glass of water and try to pour it into a glass one-fourth of its size, it is impossible. If you take an adult pornographic scene and show it to a small child, the result is the same. Try to imagine the psychologic impact and shock a small mind experiences. The small brain is not capable to comprehend what is taking place. The corrosion of childhood begins here and continues into adulthood with the help of modern social technology.

What is pornography?

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, pornography may be defined as “the depiction of erotic behavior (sexual display in pictures or writing) that is intended to cause sexual excitement” in the viewer. No qualifications for online pornography has made children’s accessibility very easy. Many whose sole purpose is to use email or surf the Internet are at risk of unwanted exposure to immoral sexual behavior.

Children are harmed by Net porn in a number of ways. For example, (1) research shows that “media has a tremendous capacity to teach.” Susan Villani states that excessive media use, particularly where the content is violent, gender-stereotyped, and/or sexually explicit, skews children’s worldview, increases high-risk behaviors, and alters their capacity for successful and sustained human relationships. (“Impact of Media on Children and Adolescents: A 10-Year Review of the Research”)

(2) Research shows that porn promotes aggression toward women. Michael Flood argues that pornography is more sexist and hostile towards women than other sexual images in the media. The aggression and violence towards women found in much of today’s popular pornography can teach boys and young men that it is socially acceptable, and even desirable, to behave aggressively towards and demean women. (“The Harms of Pornography Exposure Among Children and Young People”)

(3) Research shows that addiction is a risk for children and youth who continually access pornographic materials. Kimberly S. Young further explains that addiction is traditionally characterized by an uncontrollable urge, often resulting in loss of control, preoccupation with use, and continued use despite problems caused by the behavior and can lead to “a life-long struggle” of sexual pleasure. (“Internet Addiction: A New Clinical Phenomenon and Its Consequences”)

Estimates suggest that up to 90% or more youth between 12 and 18 years have access to the Internet. Even grade school children are exposed to pornography when they accidentally view material on the Internet. Surprisingly, 70% of children viewing pornography on the internet do so in public schools and libraries. Other children may come into contact with a parent’s pornographic material. In Asia, there is an increase in the number of sexual predators who expose young children to pornography for the purpose of grooming them for sexual exploitation. Human trafficking among the poor is one prime example.

This exposure results in anxiety for the child. Children report feelings of disgust, shock, embarrassment, anger, fear, and sadness. Many suffer symptoms of anxiety and depression. Some become obsessed with acting out adult sexual acts that they have seen, resulting in victimizing other children. In short, this Net porn exposure does tremendous harm by normalizing sexual violence, creating unrealistic expectations, and increasing the risk of addiction. The epidemic growth of Net porn is now flooding and polluting the world of the Internet.

What does the Catholic Church teach regarding this issue?

The Catechism defines pornography as “removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties” (#2337).

The Catechism gives three reasons why pornography is wrong and sinful: First, pornography offends against the virtue of chastity. Called to lead a chaste life, each Christian must respect the sanctity of his own human sexuality, which involves the integration of his physical and spiritual being. Second, pornography offends the dignity of the participants (actors, vendors, the public). Each one has exploited himself or exploits others in some way for personal pleasure or gain. In all, the dignity of the human being – whether the person posing, the person producing, the person distributing, or the person enjoying – is debased. Third, those who engage in pornography immerse themselves in a fantasy world, withdrawing from reality. While genuine love always involves a self-giving of oneself for the good of others, pornography entices a person to withdraw into a selfish world of perverted fantasy.

As Christians who are mature adults, it is necessary to find ways to make the internet safer for children, as Donna Rice Hughes, president of Enough Is Enough, states “Our children’s innocence is worth fighting for.”

In the Bible, God calls children a blessing and a gift! God states that their spirits are filled with innocence, joy and laughter. Jesus actually tells us to be like children and to come to Him full of faith and trust. Take Matthew 18:2-5, “He called a little child to him, and set the child in front of them. Then he said: I tell you solemnly, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. The one who makes himself as little as his little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Anyone who welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.”

What if someone causes a child to stumble? Jesus clearly clarifies this point in Matthew 18:6, “If anyone causes one of these little ones – those who believe in me – to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.” Net porn definitely falls into this category.

The easiest solution to this problem is for adults to stop watching Net porn. Why not? Do it for yourself, for your family, for your children.

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Additional reading:

Pope Francis Addresses the Harms of Porn on Children

‘Online sexual violence harming children’: Pope

ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS POPE FRANCIS TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN THE CONGRESS ON “CHILD DIGNITY IN THE DIGITAL WORLD”

 

  God Bless
    Jerry Novotny, OMI

 

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Websites by Fr. Jerry

(EnglishLifeIssues.net

(EnglishFighting for the Culture of Life – Fr. Jerry’s Blog

(EnglishMissionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate – Japan and Korea

(JapaneseJapan-lifeissues.net

(JapaneseHuman Rights: The Road to a Happy Life – Fr. Jerry’s Blog

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