by Cindy McGarvie
Please note the following article includes discussion on the issue of sexual assault.
For almost two decades now, people have been sounding the alarm about the dangers of children accessing pornography online and it’s seemingly fallen on deaf ears. Little children, primarily boys are consuming the most degrading and perverse pornography, free of charge, on their own devices, in the comfort of their own homes and right under the noses of their trusting, yet unaware parents.
Experts have warned that males who have, “prolonged exposure to pornography creates and enhances sexual callousness toward women … both a loss of respect for female sexual autonomy and the disinhibition of men in the expression of aggression against women.”
One grandmother told me recently that she discovered her three-year-old grandson watching pornography on a phone.
Sexual callousness, loss of respect, aggression toward women, what is that costing us? What toll is it taking on families? What toll is it taking on women? What toll is it taking on government funds to deal with policing domestic violence, sexual assault crimes, not to mention shelters for women and children, psychiatric care and counselling for victims of sexual abuse and so on?
And yes, I understand that not all sexual assault or violence against women is due to pornography, but I would comfortably assume that the majority of sexual assault today is fuelled by it.
For a start, “almost all (94%) Australian teenagers and two-thirds (67%) of primary school-aged children and over a third (36%) of preschoolers have their own mobile screen-based device” according to research conducted by The Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. With the average amount of weekly screen time reaching 43.6 hours for teenagers and 31 hours for children aged six to twelve.
One grandmother told me recently that she discovered her three-year-old grandson watching pornography on a phone. She was horrified to find that he knew how to access it himself.
In addition, research by a security technology company in 2016 found that “Some 10% of the visitors to porn video sites are less than 10 years old”.
Pornography is often a driving factor, and sometimes the only factor that influenced a child to act out in a sexually harmful way.
- Heidi Olson
Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner
In my book Lost Boys: Bring Them Home, I presented this research:
According to Fight the New Drug, the UK has had a 400-percent increase in child-on-child sexual assaults:
In a report by The Daily Mail, convictions of rape by those aged under 17 years old have almost doubled in just four years in the UK. A representative from the country’s Ministry of Justice has warned that extreme pornography is fueling this alarming rise in the number of child rapists. Experts say violent pornography is influencing children to act out the aggressive, hardcore scenes they see online.
This is not just a problem in the UK. Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Heidi Olson, from the US, writes:
The biggest age range of perpetrators that I see in my hospital is CHILDREN. In fact, in 2016, 2017, and continuing this year in 2018, our biggest age range of people committing sexual assaults are children ages 11-15 years old. …Pornography is often a driving factor, and sometimes the only factor that influenced a child to act out in a sexually harmful way. As I have studied our data, and seen more and more patients, it’s imperative that we understand the way that pornography is creating devastating effects for children across our country.
Women are demanding an end to sexual and domestic violence, and yet seemingly many have no idea of what is fueling much of it. In fact, women are now consuming porn themselves at record rates. Note that 60% of young men and 41% of young women said in a 2020 study that they used pornography as a source of information about sex.
And, as art imitates life and life imitates art, the growing consumption of porn is increasingly reflected in the comments and attitudes presented across the entertainment industry – further normalising its consumption.
This cannot end well.
No wonder school principals are pointing to online porn as a key issue for schools when tackling the sexual assault allegations by Sydney high school girls against boys.
Porn consumption is feeding the escalation of violence toward women, particularly by those who start at a young age.
Again, I quote from my book:
At a march against violence toward women in Brisbane, YouTuber ‘Krocs On’ interviewed women of all ages to get their opinions. One question she asked was, ‘Where do men get their violence?’ In other words, who’s telling men to rape or be violent toward women, as it’s not socially acceptable? The answers were very interesting. Some said it was society, some said other men or toxic masculinity (treating women less equal to men and thinking of them as objects sexually). One woman said, ‘I don’t know. If I knew that, it would be a hell of a lot easier to solve it.’
Let me suggest a cause that many researchers have already concluded: Porn consumption is feeding the escalation of violence toward women, particularly by those who start at a young age. This, I believe, is one of the causes, if not the major cause of, toxic masculinity—treating women with callousness and seeing them as sexual objects. I am perplexed as to why this issue should not be on the absolute top of the current feminist agenda. But alas, many modern-day feminists in Australia are missing in action or, worse, defending vocations of the porn industry and sex work as legitimate and harmless job choices for women that can be regulated by the government.
And let us not forget that our boys are victims too. I have spoken to many young men who shared their heart wrenching stories of being introduced to porn, mostly by their playmates or school friends on the playground, mostly under nine years, some as young as six. They became addicted, they carried shame, they didn’t have the words to articulate what was happening to them. Everyone was and perhaps still is unaware that pornography is just as addictive as heroin.
Our boys are being discipled by the world in what has been labelled toxic masculinity. And then they are berated for it.
No wonder so many of them are confused.
Pornography is hurting our girls, it’s hurting our boys and it’s hurting our society.
This needs to be addressed by our government, it needs to be addressed in our churches, it needs to be addressed in our homes, and for some reading this it needs to be addressed in our own hearts and minds.
It’s time to speak up and keep speaking up.
For more on this issue…
Fight the New Drug has heaps of resources to help raise awareness on the harmful affects of porn.
If you are struggling with porn, Fortify is one resource that can help you kick the habit.
What's Normal is a resource we've developed to help christian schools, youth groups and individuals open discussion around this topic.
Youth for Christ is actively targeting the destructive force of pornography addiction among our young people and in our churches, seeking to raise up disciples of Jesus who live in freedom. Subscribe for news and updates on the mission.
You can read more about the impact of pornography on our young men in my book Lost Boys available here.