Is Internet pornography harmful—or just harmless fun? To answer these questions, you first need to understand what the word "pornography" means and what effect it can have on you, your children and your community.
Pornography is addictive. Ask anyone who admits they have a problem with pornography – they will tell you that much like smokers and drug abusers, they have tried to quit numerous times. But all too often they find themselves turning back to pornography.
Science is now catching up to what many have experienced for years. The brain reacts similarly to drugs and pornography. Pornography can actually hijack the natural reward system of the brain; a system meant to create and encourage habits we need to survive. Pornography overloads this system and can shape behavior.
Like other addicts pornography pitfalls can be triggered by stress, fatigue, as well as feelings of sadness and loneliness. Pornography becomes a way of coping with life’s problems; and often despite commitments to spouse, clergy, employer, family or friends to stop addicts are drawn to it. These people can’t just "turn it off."
Clearly this presents major medical concerns. And this concern isn’t new. A report from the US Surgeon General in 1987 indicated “Although the evidence may be slim, we nevertheless know enough to conclude that pornography does present a clear and present danger to American public health.” Internet pornography has only aggravated this danger.
For more information on how pornography affects the brain please review the documents in the medical section of the Resources page.
The power of pornography addiction feeds dramatic and horrifying impacts to society. Most noticeable among these are the impacts to families and children.
Pornography consumption destroys marriages and families. Spouses often view Internet pornography and associated chats and activities as a form of infidelity. This places great stress on a marriage. Some families face pornography related debt. Pornography is also related to a decrease in sexual satisfaction and intimacy in couples.
All these factors can be great stressors on a marriage, and often the pressure is too great to bear. A 2002 survey of members of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers found that 62% reported that the Internet played a role in divorce cases in the previous year and 56% said that an obsessive interest in Internet pornography was one of the most cited problems. A divorce not only hurts the couple; the break up of marriages and homes can also have drastic effects on a child’s well-being.
Pornography has been linked to the general devaluation of marriage and child rearing. It can also lead to increased aggression and risk for deviant sexual behavior.
Although in many places it is illegal to distribute pornography to a minor, children have easy access to pornography. A study published in the February 2007 edition of Pediatrics found that significant numbers of 10 and 11 year olds are consistently exposed to pornography online. The same study found that 42% of children ages 10 to 17 had been exposed to Internet pornography within the last year. Statistically that amounts to nearly 15 million children in the United States alone. Children often report feeling sickened, upset, shocked, embarrassed and sad after seeing pornography.
Despite these feelings, pornography affects the sexual behavior and activities of children. It is popular now to create your own “porn movie” and post it on the Internet, often mimicking actions seen in online pornography. A child’s consumption of pornography can also lead to more aggressive sexual behavior. Children and teens can develop compulsive sexual behavior.
We are at risk of raising a generation of porn addicts – unlike any generation before. These children and teens, especially young men, are growing up with dangerous misconceptions about sex and relationships. If this “Porn Generation” continues unchecked it will have severe consequences for our world.
For more information on the social impacts of pornography please visit the Resource section of the website.
Understanding what pornography is and how it can affect you and your family is the first step towards making a decision whether or not you want to access potentially harmful material.
The CP80 Foundation is pleased to offer free training to individuals who wish to learn more about the Internet, pornography, current laws and the CP80 Internet Channel Initiative.
We can help give you a voice to fight porn. Let us give you the necessary tools to help families, protect businesses, and safeguard families against the negative effects of pornography. Speak out and be heard!