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§ How Pornography Harms Child §

=>> Since pornography has a new door to the home, school, and library through the Internet, it is important for us to look at the many ways that pornography can potentially harm our children.
01. Exposure to Pornography Threatens to Make Children Victims of Sexual Violence
=>The Internet has proven a useful tool for pedophiles and sexual predators as they distribute child pornography, engage in sexually explicit conversations with children, and seek victims in chat rooms. The more pornography these individuals access, the higher the risk of their acting out what they see, including sexual assault, rape, and child molestation.
****Pornography's Relationship to Rape and Sexual Violence
According to one study, early exposure (under fourteen years of age) to pornography is related to greater involvement in deviant sexual practice, particularly rape. Slightly more than one-third of the child molesters and rapists in this study claimed to have at least occasionally been incited to commit an offense by exposure to pornography. Among the child molesters incited, the study reported that 53 percent of them deliberately used the stimuli of pornography as they prepared to offend.
The habitual consumption of pornography can result in a diminished satisfaction with mild forms of pornography and a correspondingly strong desire for more deviant and violent material.
***Pornography's Relationship to Child Molestation
In a study of convicted child molesters, 77 percent of those who molested boys and 87 percent of those who molested girls admitted to the habitual use of pornography in the commission of their crimes. Besides stimulating the perpetrator, pornography facilitates child molestation in several ways. For example, pedophiles use pornographic photos to demonstrate to their victims what they want them to do. They also use them to arouse a child or to lower a child's inhibitions and communicate to the unsuspecting child that a particular sexual activity is okay: "This person is enjoying it; so will you."
02.Exposure to Pornography May Incite Children to Act Out Sexually against Other Children
=>Children often imitate what they've seen, read, or heard. Studies suggest that exposure to pornography can prompt kids to act out sexually against younger, smaller, and more vulnerable children. Experts in the field of childhood sexual abuse report that any premature sexual activity in children always suggests two possible stimulants: experience and exposure. This means that the sexually deviant child may have been molested or simply exposed to sexuality through pornography.
In a study of six hundred American males and females of junior high school age and above, researcher Dr. Jennings Bryant found that 91 percent of the males and 82 percent of the females admitted having been exposed to X-rated, hard-core pornography. Over 66 percent of the males and 40 percent of the females reported wanting to try out some of the sexual behaviors they had witnessed. And among high schoolers, 31 percent of the males and 18 percent of the females admitted actually doing some of the things they had seen in the pornography within a few days after exposure.
03.Exposure to Pornography Interferes with a Child's Development and Identity
=>During certain critical periods of childhood, a child's brain is being programmed for sexual orientation. During this period, the mind appears to be developing a "hardware" for what the person will be aroused by or attracted to. Exposure to healthy sexual norms and attitudes during this critical period can result in the child developing a healthy sexual orientation. In contrast, if there is exposure to pornography during this period, sexual deviance may become imprinted on the child's "hard drive" and become a permanent part of his or her sexual orientation.
Psychologist Dr. Victor Cline's findings suggest that memories of experiences that occurred at times of emotional arousal (which could include sexual arousal) are imprinted on the brain by epinephrine, an adrenal gland hormone, and are difficult to erase. (This may partly explain pornography's addicting effect.) Viewing pornography can potentially condition some viewers to have recurring sexual fantasies during which they masturbate. Later they may be tempted to act out the fantasies as sexual advances.
Sexual identity develops gradually through childhood and adolescence. In fact, children generally do not have a natural sexual capacity until between the ages of ten and twelve. As they grow up, children are especially susceptible to influences affecting their development. Information about sex in most homes and schools comes, presumably, in age-appropriate incremental stages based on what parents, educators, physicians, and social scientists have learned about child development. But pornography short-circuits and/or distorts the normal personality development process and supplies misinformation about a child's sexuality, sense of self, and body that leave the child confused, changed, and damaged.

Source: Protecting Your Children In Cyberspace by Donna Rice Hughes (Revell, September 1998)


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