Pornography is one of the most pervasive and morally hurtful publications that have encroached upon the modern society. The emergence of the internet has made it nearly impossible to regulate the content of the media. The victims of unregulated cyber space are often children, who are not only targeted by the pervasive materials, but also as subjects of the materials. It emerged in the final half of the 20th century and it has become rampant of late, with increasingly devastating effects on the society, Davis & Braucht (2008). The perception about what precisely comprises pornography, and the societal views on the subject vary. Effectively, the term ‘pornography’ can be defined in various ways depending on the cultural context in which it is being used. Generally, it defined as the clear representation of sexual acts in form of movies, animations, writing, sound recordings, paintings or pictures, involving or targeting children, with an intention to excite erotic visual or emotional feelings of a person. However, the term does not apply in the case where sexual activities are done in a live concert. This paper seeks to assess child pornography, as well as the emotional, social and psychological effects on its most vulnerable victims, the children.
Unsurprisingly, the effects of child pornography vary according to multiple cultural, technological and economic factors among others. The younger the age of exposure among the children, the more affected the victims would, a situation which is further exacerbated by the social and economic deprivation, which renders children open to predatory pornographers. The main and major effect of pornography is addiction. This is a progressive behavior that does not have a happy ending on a child, (Stephen 1997). The exposed children end up in frequent sexual conversations and erotic fantasies, which take up most of their time spent in watching and reading pornographic materials or even trying to practically perform what they see in films or magazines. In a scenario where there is no longer accessibility to pornographic materials, the need for masturbation and fretfulness arises. The dangers of children engaging in sex at early ages come with sexual health consequences to the children. As a result of addiction, habitual sexual activities may continue in teenage girls and consequently lead to unwanted pregnancies. As if it were not enough, the teenagers will opt for abortion because such early pregnancies are considered a shame to the families, in most cultural contexts, (Davis & Braucht 2008). In most case if not all, the girl in question is usually a student and therefore she cannot support a baby hence forcing the girl to add a more responsibility to her parents.
In addition, early exposures of a child to pornography lead to the victims turning into sexual deviants, which lead into even worse consequences. Boys may become more antagonistic towards girls with a reduction in the reception of pain and suffering of rape victims and they start to accept the existing myths on rape. In the end it desensitizes boys to sexual assaults as a crime and it increases the desire to commit such criminal offences as rape and sadomasochism. In a case study, 87 percent of child molesters admitted that they use pornography as stimuli as they plan their offences. Besides that, they also use it to arouse the child and show the children that sex is okay and fun, (Davis & Braucht 2008).
As the number of children exposed to not just mild pornographic materials as well as hardcore pornography increase, the children receive confusing messages from the films. They learn that irresponsible sex is good, acceptable or admirable, forgetting that it puts their health at risk. Sex among young teenagers has increased cases of venereal illnesses. One out of five teenagers, who are involved in sexual activities, acquires a sexually transmitted disease (STD) in the United States of America. This results into approximately three million cases of teenagers with sexually transmitted diseases, (Stephen 1997). These diseases have wide ranging effects, which include impotence etc, which hurts the victims’ sexual and reproductive health.
Perhaps the most devastating consequences of child porn, comes from the supply side of the pornographic materials. Innocent girls and boys fall victims to human trafficking, forced prostitution and sexual exploitation, in order to provide the fodder for child pornography. While this may be made worse by the lack of legal or social protections of the children, the consequences on the individual child victims can never be over emphasized. The victims languish in brothels, streets as well as motels for the rest of their lives or in part, in the service of ruthless criminal rings, (Stephen 1997). The exposure of children to pornography, either on the supply or the demand side, interferes with a child’s psychosocial development. This is not least because, sexual orientation comprises an important stage of every child’s development. During this stage, the child’s brain appears to control what the child will be sexually aroused by, or interested in. Exposure to pornography at this stage in a child, leads to sexual deviance and pornography becomes imprinted to their mind and eventually becomes part their sexuality. On the other hand, if a child is exposed to good sexual norms at this stage of his life, he or she acquires a good sex orientation.
In conclusion, Child pornography can be so hard to deal with, especially in this era of free media, social networking and the internet. Parents should keep a close eye to what their children read; watch, do and the kind of places and people they hang out with. Secondly teachers should ensure that pornographic materials do not find their ways in schools either through internet or in forms of books and magazines. These efforts would remain ineffective without more stringent government regulation of the media and other criminal activities (organized crime and child prostitution), which have effectively fueled the growth of child pornography.
Davis, K. E. & Braucht, G, 2008, Exposure to Pornography, Character and Sexual Deviance,
Technical Reports of the Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, Vol 7, P.103.
Stephen J. K., 1997, Protecting Children in Cyberspace, Springfield, VA: Behavioral
Psychotherapy Center, 58-59.