Exposure and Addiction to Pornography at an Early Age: A Serious Problem

Anup Joshi
         Exposure and Addiction to Pornography at an Early Age:                                            A Serious Problem

I was enjoying a nap as a part of my regular beauty-sleep during the late afternoon when something broke the spell of my daydream. My eyes flung open and struck with my nemesis. Reluctantly, I pulled the blanket, which had wandered away in course of my sleep, covered my body and stretched my legs as an act of relaxation. “Uncle, my laptop is wrecked and I gotta submit my social-work report to my teacher tomorrow. Could you please lend me your laptop?”, standing before me was twelve-year-old daughter of my landlord. The nervousness in her aptitude exhibited by her trembling voice ended up with a Mona-Lisa smiley face as soon as she uttered her pre-rehearsed dialogue. The only child of my landlord, I had tutored Nisha for a year when she was at grade four, so she always had ‘sir’ kind of formal attitude towards me. This was the first time she had ever asked for anything by descending into my room in five years stay at her house. Without a thought, my hands automatically went for the drawer of my lowbed, where I used to safekeep my laptop and I handed it to her. She walked out of my room without next word. My expectation that I’ll get my laptop by evening shattered when she did not return it. It was perturbing for me as my regular routine of watching movies got disturbed. I had just finished first two seasons of Da Vinci Demons TV Series and two more seasons were to go. I suffered as hell that night not being able to continue it.
When Nisha returned the laptop next morning, I switched it on and saw a new document file on my desktop entitled “social-work-project”. She had conducted a research on five different native ethnic communities of Nepal, Raute, Sunar, Thami, Dhimal, Rajbanshi and wrote a brief historical, geographical, demographic and contemporary account of them along with relevant pictures. I was amazed by the endeavor of a seventh-grade kid. My experience tutoring her was satisfactory as she was among top students of her class and I had heard that she was successful perpetuating her grades during recent years too. As I opened the web browser to surf my facebook, a curiosity hit my mind and I opened the browser history to pry what she has done with internet. I was totally baffled to see the search history. In the later part of yesterday’s history, there was google search on the ethnic communities she prepared her report on, but the most recent searches aroused goosebumps on my heart. She had googled keywords like ‘girls sex’, ‘sex photo’ and ‘nude video’ and had followed the porn sites that were displayed on the search list. Nisha shared her room with her veteran grandmother and slept on a single bed. The time of her obscene search was after 9 pm to 10:30. So I guess after she finished her project and her grandmother went to sleep, she started googling pornographic materials. I wondered if she hurries to search porn on other’s device, how wisely was she using her personal iPad that her parents gifted.
            Last Saturday, my eldest sister visited my place with her 14-year-old son. It was his day off at school and Suchit had insisted that they go somewhere for outing. As a way-out, she brought him to me as she could simultaneously check out how was I doing. I live by myself in a single rental room with kitchen and bedding on the same. The room is not so big and there is a kitchen rack holding gas stove above it. A water jar, a lowbed and a cloth-hanger are the only few things that could fit in. Kids these days cannot fathom a second without a mobile, TV or laptop. Soon after we had lunch, the boy got restless. As there was no TV at my place and my mobile was no fancy device alike his mum’s, laptop was the only thing that could hold him for few more hours. The boy is so determined that he objects to visit those relatives who have no Wi-Fi, no laptop or no fancy mobile that he could enjoy during his stay. With earphone plugged in, Suchit got engaged with laptop and lay on one side of the bed, on the remaining side were we. He probably was watching WWE wrestling videos or Cricket highlights on youtube. In the meantime, my sister and I were busy talking about all the domestic and family affairs that could possibly be imagined on earth. After I served them fried-noodles, they left my place in the evening. Later when I was browsing my web browser, I found that the boy has forgotten to log out his facebook account. Soon a chat box popped up and there appeared a link from pornhub.com entitled ‘Helping stepmom’. It was sent by one of his friend, visiting whose profile I concluded that he was my nephew’s classmate. Scrolling the chat box, I saw there were lots of exchange of pornographic weblinks between the two. I was shocked to see all those. Similar was the conversation with few other boys too and with girlfriends, he was clearly trying to woo them. He had made pretty much friends on facebook and most of them were strangers, specially girls with whom he mostly flirted. The message archives confirmed that Suchit spends a big deal of time chatting and the thing he does on chatting was no good. His mother always expressed her dissatisfaction over him for playing smartphone too much and not giving enough time for his studies. As a result, his grades were very poor and his parents were worried about him.
            I accept that it was unwise of me to trespass the privacy of kids in both the cases. But for god’s sake they both are children and are not supposed to indulge their creative time on watching porn. With the advent of mobile technology alongside amplification of internet service, children’s access to huge world of web is stimulating. Children are learning lots of good stuffs from internet and developing their familiarity with technology, this is the good part. But in the same time, due to the easy access to huge resource of internet pornography children are being addicted to them even before puberty. As a result, they are losing interest in study and becoming deviated. As Johnston puts it, “Children who frequently view pornography develops compulsive use and take more sexual risks. Mainstream pornography’s violent themes and heterosexual inequality may explain some of the negative effects it has on children” (1). When they get some privacy from family members and access to an internet device, they start to watch porn time and again. It is mandatory for them to know about sex education and their physical and psychological changes since from their early ages, for which school curriculum has also included a paper on one. They should be given proper education to realize their sexual potentiality. But pornography, which presents the highly graphic and unreal images of sexual intercourse can cause serious psychological effect on them. “It depicts activities that don’t take place during the actual sexual event. Unfortunately, this highly graphic content has the potential to stick with kids long after they see it. That means that it may continue to impact their sexual development long after they think they’ve moved on from the event” (netsanity. par 3). As there are wild ranges of pornographic material available on internet in just a distance of two clicks, exposure to some of the categories of porn like incest, beastality, homosexuality et cetera can be more injurious than others. They will make children anti-social and may motivate them into sexual abuse and crimes. Furthermore, children try to compare the physical features of the porn-stars with them. They develop inferiority complex for not having the size of sexual organs like that in porn videos, which are highly manipulated with the use of graphics. The most dreadful part of the pornography is that they are addictive and once children start to like them, it becomes their habitual routine to watch porn materials.
            The number of children visiting pornography is extensively increasing even in the underdeveloped country like ours. The parents may be unaware of it but research shows that most of the children are addicted to it. This has become a global phenomenon. As MacLaughin claims:
the average age of a child's first exposure to pornography is 11 years old. New research from the security technology company Bitdefender, has reported children under the age of 10 now account for 22% of online porn consumption under 18 -years old. Particularly alarming is that the site most visited by children under 10 include porn mega sites like Pornhub. The under 10 age group is now accounting for one in 10 visitors to porn video sites (par 2).
My nephew and landlord’s daughter, whom nobody will believe that they could watch porn are among few of many. Not only boys but girls are also equally exposed to porn. Their first exposure is likely to be accidental, when they are using internet, through redirecting advertisements or other means. But once they stick with their curiosity, the situation gets worse. They develop the habit of watching porn as teenage is very vulnerable age period. Though kids look normal and social at present, the addiction of sex can accumulate bizarre violence in their mind over time. “Users of…porn are more likely to use verbal coercion, drugs, and alcohol to push women into sex…exposure to both violent and nonviolent porn increases aggressive behavior, including both having violent fantasies and actually committing violent assaults.” (Sarah, par 6). So, the effect of addiction to porn can be very lethal to the children over period of time. What will they turn out to be in the future remains very uncertain.
We are fighting with so many things to make our society better, but I think among them, children’s exposure to pornography comes topmost. If the future of our nation waste their time on such deceiving act, what can we expect of them? Parental guidance is very necessary to sort this problem out. We should be more open to our children about sex and introduce sexual health education to them in a very organized way. If I had scolded my landlord’s daughter and my nephew for watching porn, they situation would have gone more pathetic. They would have felt ashamed and be full of gilt. It would have further perturbed their psychology. As Segal suggests, “a parent-teenager conversation about sexuality and pornography is a good idea, as unnerving to both sides as that may sound. The alternative is worse…Putting a computer in a kid’s room without any limits on what can be viewed…is a bit like tossing a teenager the keys to a car and saying: “Go learn how to drive. Have fun.” (par 26). We need to talk sensitively regarding sexuality and pornography to them in a very friendly manner. The school curriculum should inform them all the facets of natural sexuality and aware them how much misleading porn materials can be. If we keep the topic a taboo, they will never overcome it and be more and more dragged into watching porn.
            To conclude, exposure to pornography at an early age is a serious social problem, not only of our country but of the whole world. Due to the reach of internet and mobile technology at everyone’s palm, children have become much more susceptible to porn than ever. Instead of playing, studying and spending time for creative works, they are wasting their time watching porn material and becoming sexually active at underage. This addiction is a catastrophe to children’s psychology. First thing is ISPs, should block access to most of the known porn sites in internet. And secondly, parental guidance for cybersafety is inevitable. Parents should give more time to children, encourage them for creative works and check out what their children are doing. Today, parental control softwares are widely available for all the android, windows and IOS platform. So, parents should install them on their device before giving it to their children and mediate what is good and what is bad for their sons and daughters. A child-friendly environment should be created at home and at school. The problem of children’s exposure to pornography is very real and we should all be alarmed to solve it.

Works Cited
Johnston, Jennifer B. “Early Exposure to Pornography: Indirect and Direct Effects on Sexual
Satisfaction in Adulthood”. New York: UMI Dissertation Publication, 2013. Pdf.
MacLaughin, Cristin. “The Detrimental Effects of Pornography on Small Children”.
Netnanny. 2 July 2017. Web.
"Porn Effect On Brain - Kids Stumble Across Porn And It's Brain Changing". Netsanity.
2 July 2017. Web.
Sarah, Purple. “How Watching Porn Can Lead To Violence”. Fight The New Drug.
2 July 2017.Web.
Segal, David. “Does Porn Hurt Children?”. The New York Times. 2 July 2017. Web.

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About Anup Joshi

Anup Joshi is an emerging young writer searching for space in Nepali literature. He writes poems, stories and lyrics for songs. As a student of English literature he loves reading books. He is also a passionate photographer and enjoys travelling.
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