Friday, 5 March 2010

Porn - protecting young minds

It is a thankless task trying to ban older children from anything. Outlaw it and any child with an enquiring mind will want to know what the fuss is about.
This is not to say if you discover your child behind the wheel of your car or playing chicken on railway tracks you shouldn’t threaten to call the police. Hit the roof – but, of course, not your kid – if you find them smoking or drinking. You explain your reasons, state your rules – and if nothing else they’ll take more care next time not to get caught.
Misdemeanours like experimenting with smoking and drinking kick in around puberty as children stumble on the rocky road towards adulthood.
Growing curiosity about sex is in the natural order of things around the same time. As for the raw mechanics of sex, these days they don’t have to stay curious for long. The internet has brought the danger of access to hard core pornography to every family home. Maybe you’ve imposed effective parental controls on your household’s computer screens but what about Johnny and Molly’s friends?
You try to explain to your 12 or 13-year-old that pornography gives a wholly distorted view of the relationship between men and women focusing as it does on anatomical freaks and neglecting that, which makes us human – love, tenderness, humour. You make your case for waiting and hope the message sinks in. You’ll probably keep a tighter watch on curfews and sleep-overs.
The internet by-product of this loss of innocence is lamentable and may well encourage sexual activity to begin sooner with all degrees of danger - distracting from education to pregnancy and disease.
But what if, say, it is your seven or eight year old who you find has been exposed to hardcore pornography? Perhaps an older child thought it funny to show him or her a porn site. If that isn’t a criminal offence in your part of the world it should be.
How can anyone know what scarring can be done to the young mind? Every resource has to be taken to prevent such exposure.
I doubt if any parent reading this would disagree? But are you just as concerned about your young child being exposed to violent DVDs and video games as you are sexual content on the internet? You should be.

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