Online Exposure to Adult Porn Adversely Affects Children’s Sexual Behavior: Report

Morality in Media (MIM) has published a 10-page paper reporting evidence that exposure to hardcore adult pornography on the Internet can adversely affect children’s sexual behavior and attitudes about sex. The evidence includes published observations of clinical psychologists, police and prosecutors, educators, rape crisis professionals, social workers and others, as well as social science research.

The paper is the second MIM publication in recent months exposing the connection between adult pornography and harm to children. The paper is a complement to “How Adult Pornography Contributes to Sexual Exploitation of Children,” a 215-page report published in September 2009. Both the paper and report are posted at www.obscenitycrimes.org (“Porn Problem & Solutions” and “Help for Parents” pages).

The January paper, “Harm to Children from Online Exposure to Hardcore Adult Pornography,” asserts that when it comes to the Internet in the United States there are “at present NO legal safeguards to protect children from exposure to pornography, and in large measure we can thank the Supreme Court itself for this tragic state of affairs.”

The paper points out that “in 1997, the Supreme Court invalidated a law intended to restrict children’s online access to content that is ‘indecent.’ In 2009, the Court also refused to review a lower court decision which had invalidated a law intended to restrict children’s online access to sexual content that is ‘harmful to minors.’”

The MIM report highlights the irony that while child would be requested to leave an ‘adult bookstore,’ “if that same child were to ‘click’ to most commercial websites that distribute adult pornography, he could view hardcore adult pornography free of charge and without restriction, because when it comes to cyberspace, the courts think parental use of filters is an adequate solution to the problem.”

Morality in Media doesn’t fault only the courts however. “Congress, the U.S. Justice Department and FBI also share responsibility,” they write. “Under the Bush administration there were successful prosecutions against online commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography, proving that obscenity laws can be enforced. But these prosecutions were too few and far between to effectively deter online distribution of hardcore adult pornography.”

According to the report, “Since the 2008 presidential election, the Justice Department (including the FBI) has not initiated any new adult obscenity cases. Furthermore, Congress hasn’t uttered a peep about the lack of enforcement.”

“What then are the consequences of our nation’s failure to protect children from online exposure to hardcore adult pornography?” asks the MIM report. “Common sense should inform us that when children are exposed to graphic depictions of adultery, bestiality, bondage, excretory activities, group sex, incest, prostitution, pseudo child porn, rape, sexual murders, teen sex, torture, and unsafe sex galore, their attitudes about sex, their sexual desires and their sexual behavior can be influenced for the worst. The evidence compiled in this paper supports that assessment.”

The January paper concludes:

“It has been said that exposing children to hardcore adult pornography is a form of child abuse. There is truth in that…Those responsible for this abuse include Internet pornographers that allow children to view hardcore adult pornography free of charge and without proof of age. Those responsible also include prosecutors and law enforcement agents who have turned a blind eye to the proliferation of obscene materials on the Internet, and Congress for failing to hold the Justice Department and FBI accountable for their failure to vigorously enforce federal Internet obscenity laws.”

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