BBC NEWS – 28/3/14
A UK industry regulator has called for the law to be changed to require pornography sites to carry out age checks before granting access.
The survey indicated that over the period:
- 6% of children aged 15 years or younger had accessed an adult website
- 5% of visitors to such sites had been under-18
- One website alone – Pornhub – had been visited by 112,000 boys in the UK aged between 12 and 17-years-old
- Of the wider population, 23% of those who had used the net over the month had visited an adult site
- Visitors to adult sites spent an average of 15 minutes looking at them during each visit and typically clocked up two-and-a-half hours of time in total over the month
ATVOD (The Authority for Television On Demand) added that the survey probably underestimated the scale of the issue since smartphone and tablet use was not included in the figures.
Heard this on Radio 4 this morning and it linked in with an item several months ago that I felt the urge to write about but didn’t. Firstly, the item on the radio had two speakers representing both sides of the argument, one a guy who had once run an adult site. Unlike most adult sites this one had a rather boring and sleazeless name, which probably explains why he did run one, given that most such sites have typically names like Cumtube and HornyTeens.com. The person representing the side of the argument incensed by the news above and pro-censorship made me laugh. I often wonder if people representing certain arguments on TV or radio are recruited from a list of stereotypes. Yup, you guessed it right. The representative was what sounded like a 60+ upper middles-classed woman, complete with your typical upper register ‘jolly hockey sticks’ tone. How awwwfully predictable.
The problem seems to be children under the age of 18, watching hardcore porn. Unlike the picture above, as might be expected, its mostly boys. The other side of the problem is that viewing such material can damage the viewer.
Now personally, despite believing utterly in the freedom of the internet and personally having no issues with pornography, I do agree that children under a certain age should not view such material, though personally I think it should be under 16, not under 18, or you end up with a silly situation like age laws in the US. I mean, logically, if you can legally have sex, surely you should be able to watch other people (via the media) having sex.
I have no doubt that viewing hardcore porn if you are young does effect the way you view sex, and the opposite sex. It also reinforces gender attitudes that should be killed off, like the view of women as objects. These just reinforce male dominant attitudes that have done nothing but screw this world up.
The viewing off such thing also can lead the child to inadvertently view subject matter that is simply fucked up, because porn links are not always to be trusted, and so risking even worse psychological trauma in the viewer.
Lets be honest, porn is not a good reflection of male female interaction. If you’re old enough to have already established an adult approach to the opposite sex, founded on experience, then I believe the damage can be avoided. But children don’t have that experience, so their view can be prematurely corrupted.
VODAFONE, already have the answer. GOD! I never thought I’d say that about Vodafone.
Basically, if you want to access adult material you have to call up and ask for the access filter to be removed. So, take this idea and go for broke.
So, you’re a horny 12 year old boy. You’ve got bored of page 3 of The Sun or a sneakily stolen lingerie catalog. You’re hormones are bubbling away like the rumblings of a dormant volcano, ready to spew forth a raging surge of sexuality…in fact, you’re probably already feverishly practicing for something you can only imagine, despite you’re imagination being rather limited. So, you have a form of internet access, a smart phone, a laptop, and iPad, and you try to find some porn. Your friends at school have talked about it. The media has told you about it. You feel a thrill of nervous excitement as you hit Google and do a search.
Google, the champion of accountability, gives you 30 pages of links that make your groin throb.
You pause to listen to make sure you’re parents or a siblings haven’t come home yet, your finger ready to click the link. Click! You get the following image come up.
Now if that doesn’t put the horny little dude off, then when he calls the number provided, trying to make his voice sound deeper and practicing a false date of birth, the phone is answered by….OH MY GOD! Its an obviously elderly lady, who sounds like his granny. FUCK! The poor little guy, his hard on instantly gone as he has to engage with what he can image is a sweet little old lady, as she asks a series of questions that are aimed to confirm his age. Her manner is utterly personable as she starts to ask his some questions.
“Now sonny, what sort of pornography would you like to watch?”
“Err, oh, ah….”
“Would be like to watch things with big boobs? Teen porn? Japanese porn…oh, that includes bukkake doesn’t it sonny? Cumshots? Anal sex……..grannies!”
At this point I imagine any normal sexually frustrated preteen would have hung up. Shit he was expecting to just give his date of birth to some bloke in India with the dull practiced tone of bank clerk, not this shit.
Another bonus is the employment opportunities for elderly ladies, all trained to make such conversations so embarrassingly agonizing for the child making the call. Add to that some tech that identifies child like vocal tones and the explanation that calls will be recorded, and it would be a great deterrent.
Fair enough, porn can be shared between children, and to be honest there’s not much you can do about that, but despite the obvious macho factor of showing porn to your friends, the fact remains that viewing porn, accompanies by the associated activity of whacking off to it, IS a solitary pleasure. Its not a group sport I’m telling you.
But in the end, its down the the services providers to put that filter in. Its all down to them.
Kids will always do what they see as dangerous and adult. Especially if you consider the pressure our culture puts on children, denying the duration of being a child. Since the late 50’s, the pressure to rush into adulthood has been a very real problem in my opinion. And it gets worse every year. There is a dreadful hypocrisy that society limits the time that children can be children, but then starts taking the moral high ground when children start trying to be adults before they’re allowed legally.
To be a child is to be innocent.
Our society pretty quickly destroys the reality of innocence.
Its not a new story. The Fall in the garden of Eden, the snake, the apple, Adam & Eve, is all about the loss of innocence. (OH, and reinforcing patrician society for the next two thousand years and making sure that women were abused and dominated for the same length of time of course.) But in a society where 7 yr olds hang themselves due to academic pressures or media bullying really needs to get its priorities straight. In fact, here, pornography itself can illustrate how fucked up our society really is. In the 1970’s and before, porn had hair! Oh my word did it have hair. The participants had big hair, bushy side burns and huge moustaches. The naked bodies had pubic hair sprouting from everywhere. Hairy bodies, hairy groins. It was all so natural and above all, adult. Today, in an age of moral panic about internet grooming, predatory pedophiles lurking everywhere, conservative attitudes on everything, all sticking up its nose at every kind of immoral acts. But hear once again we see porn representing the culture in which it exists and also portraying what we copy, albeit unconsciously. Porn today is practically hairless. The women all now have a shaved, almost pubescent appearance. And if you take a group of women aged 18-35, I would bet good money that over 50% of them would be just the same.
Morally, ethically, rationally, our society is truly fucked up. It makes no sense whatsoever.
But the one thing that makes me feel really sad for us as a race, is the loss of childhood, the loss of innocence. The chance to be a child. Pornography is just one of the thousands of influences that slow erodes that time when we have the capacity to be free.