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Current Page: Politics | Wednesday, July 15, 2015
1/3 of 10-Year-Olds Access Internet Porn, 'The New Crack Cocaine,' Health Experts Warn

1/3 of 10-Year-Olds Access Internet Porn, 'The New Crack Cocaine,' Health Experts Warn

Public health advocates, gathered by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation, warn congressional staffers of the danger that internet pornography presents to society at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center in Washington, D.C. on July 14, 2015. | (Photo: The Christian Post/Samuel Smith)

A group of health experts gathered on Capitol Hill Tuesday to brief congressional staff members on the new "public health crisis" facing America — the growing use of internet pornography among younger children and the impact it has on their mental growth and social understanding of sex.

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.

Through her own research, she found that the earlier that male children are exposed to porn, the more likely they are to engage in nonconsenting sex. She stated that research has also found that males who watch porn are more likely to think women enjoy being raped, believe that women get what they want when they are raped and are more accepting of violence towards women.

"If you eat the sexual junk food you may become sexually obese. But what moves these sexual obesity attitudes into sexual obesity behaviors? Permission-giving beliefs," Layden said. "Permission-giving beliefs are beliefs that say what I am doing is normal and it doesn't hurt anybody and everybody is doing it."

Layden and other panelists at the briefing, including Ed Smart — the father of kidnap victim Elizabeth Smart — explained that pornography use can lead to psychopathic behaviors, which lead people to do crazy things in search of fulfilling their sexual fantasies.

Smart explained that his daughter's captor, Brian David Mitchell, was introduced to porn at an early age by his father and became a porn addict. Smart said Mitchell became so psychotic that he kidnapped his daughter in 2002 and forced her to watch porn to desensitize her as he raped her multiple times a day.

"In my own research," Layden said, "I found that the increasing use of pornography is related to higher psychopathy scores. Is internet pornography teaching our boys to act like psychopaths?"

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