The accelerated growth of the internet within the last decade has made it easier now more than ever for children and adults to access free pornographic images and videos, and to get addicted to viewing such materials. Mary Anne Layden, director of Sexual Trauma and Psychopathic Program Center for Cognitive Therapy, told a room full of congressional staffers gathered by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation that internet pornography is becoming America’s newest addiction crisis.
In a society where parents are uncomfortable teaching their children about sex and where school systems don’t educate their students on all aspects of sex, Layden said that children are seemingly turning to internet porn to get the answers to their sexual curiosity. But in viewing porn sites, Layden claims that children are being taught that sex is all about lust and violence against women, not intimacy.
Ernie Allen, former president and CEO of the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children, gave staffers perspective on how many children view pornographic materials. He stated that research consensus has found that the average age of first porn exposure is 12 years old. Allen also stated that “fully” a third of 10-year-olds and 53 percent of 12 to 15-year-olds access pornographic content.
“What information is it feeding them?” Layden asked. “It is telling them this: There is no such thing as too much sex and there is no sexual behavior that is harmful, toxic or traumatizing, and that sex is not about intimacy, caring, love or respect.“
Layden added that internet porn is teaching children that it is alright to have sex with complete strangers, an attitude which she says is manifested by the rise of sexual immorality seen on college campuses.
“[It is teaching them that] sex is not about marriage or having children. Sex is casual, recreational, adversarial and it is non-intimate,” Layden argued. “In fact, you don’t even need to know your partner because sex with strangers is the best and most intense time for sex, and you can see the consequences of that in hookup culture on our college campuses.”
“Of course, all these things are not true. That’s because internet pornography is actually giving them sexual junk food,” Layden continued. “No wonder that the psychologists are calling pornography the new crack cocaine.“
As society’s acceptance of pornographic media continues to grow, Layden argues that children who watch porn are taught that the things they see in porn videos — like rape, bondage, abuse of women, adultery, and other heinous acts — are socially acceptable actions and normal sexual standards.
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