Monday, February 9, 2015

Pornography: an epidemic of the digital age

I am sure most people would agree that the internet today is riddled with porn. But what is more worrying is the fact that the entire generation of our children are now growing up online and how to protect them from accessing such sexually explicit materials is becoming a growing concern. The online porn is getting out of control, beyond the reach of politicians, policy-makers and law enforcement. It is no longer safe to leave our kids on the internet alone because it often happens that such materials appear on the screen even without clicking on that particular page. Even Youtube, the popular video site does not always carry healthy stuffs. So, how can we make the virtual world safe for our kids are something we need to reflect on. Our kids have the rights to reap the benefits of internet resources but it’s now our responsibility as parents and teachers to ensure they do it in a healthy manner.

According to the documentary ‘Porndemic, Sex in the Digital Age’, produced by Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, online porn can ruin marriages because it literarily disengages a person from his physical social network and makes it difficult for him to form positive relationships with other people. It has produced millions of sex addicts around the world since it provides instant gratification in the privacies of homes and offices. It has become an epidemic and it’s now beyond anyone’s control. Until over 3 decades ago, pornography included only adult magazines and sex stories, and it was pretty much under control. But today, our parents and grandparents won’t even know what porn has become: “A hardcore world without limits, all available at the click of a mouse”.

So, it’s no surprise that the internet today is infested with thousands of pornographic materials all easily accessible to anybody who knows how to surf the net. Today’s youth live in a computer age and most of them spend a huge chunk of their time engaging themselves online, either on social media or browsing the internet resources. There’s every chance that they might land up on websites containing sexually explicit materials which can tempt them to explore further. It can be rightly assumed that the majority of the consumers of online porn across the globe include youth since they are in the stage of sexual, physical and social development. It so happened a couple of years ago that a young boy brought his pen-drive to me requesting for a printout of a document. When I opened his drive to locate the file to be printed, I found he had some porn movies in his drive. I didn’t open them but I knew the contents by their titles. I couldn’t tell him anything thinking it might embarrass him but what I am trying to say here is that, our youth are increasingly getting exposed to such sexually explicit materials mainly because of the availability of many websites which provide free access to such contents. While there isn’t really anything we can do to stop people from uploading such materials online, we can at least remain vigilant at what our kids are doing online and what kind of sites they are visiting. Because of repeated exposure to such materials, young people may develop obsession with sex and social crimes like rape, sexual molestation and harassment might rise in the long-run. If concerned authorities do not act on time, I believe time might come for us to have rehabilitation centers to treat sex addicts like in other countries. A few days back, I learned from BBC News that even China has now begun to set up such rehab centers as a result of an increasing number of sex addicts. As a parent and a counselor, I am really worried about the safety of our kids online. I am concerned how I should guide my kids to use the internet in a responsible and healthy manner. I sometimes feel that the government should discourage the internet service providers from providing access to such contents.

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