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Ann Bailey

Our kids have become the “guinea-pig generation” in so many ways, but now we can add porn addiction to the tragic list.  A special report out of the UK showed that “four out of five 16-year-old boys and girls regularly access porn online while one in three ten-year-olds has seen explicit material.”

Miranda Suit, founder of the UK organization Safermedia, elaborated on the situation:   “This generation is going through an experiment. No one knows how they will survive this unprecedented assault on their sexual development. They are guinea pigs for the next generation.”

Here are some of the statistics that emerged from the report:

  • 12 per cent of young teenagers were involved in sharing intimate images of themselves
  • Addiction clinics in London report that 26 percent of young people coming in for psychological treatment were hooked on internet porn
  • 60 percent of 11 to 16-year-olds report having internet access from their own rooms – compared with 30 percent six years earlier
  • 41 percent of seven to ten-year-olds have internet access from their own rooms – a four-fold increase

This doesn’t even address access to porn on smart phones or the trading of porn via memory sticks and flash drives and experts report this behavior is widespread.

Options to curtail children’s access to on-line porn are regularly discussed by public policy makers.   Yet laws that would require porn viewers to ‘opt in’- rather than the current system of ‘opting out’ by installing household filters – have met with little to no success.  Requiring an ‘opt-in’ system seems like a common-sense measure, but pornographers have too much money on the line to voluntarily police themselves and cries of “censorship” resonate with not a few people.

As parents we can no longer be naive!  We need to understand the magnitude of the problem and address it.  Does your child have a smart phone?  Mine does and my husband and I have some decisions to make.  How is internet access in your home monitored?  Is the scourge of pornography a topic at your home?  It needs to be.  Is your spouse involved in pornography use?   Are you sure?

I don’t have answers, but this I know:  our children are being robbed not only of their childhoods, but of their chance to have successful future relationships – and successful and happy lives.

It is past time for all of us to step up.

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