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Our social experiment: Kids with access to hard-core porn

September 03, 2013|By David Horsey
  • As this vintage Horsey cartoon illustrates, childhood is not as innocent as it used to be, thanks to Internet porn.
As this vintage Horsey cartoon illustrates, childhood is not as innocent… (David Horsey / Los Angeles…)

For the first time in the history of humanity, children can easily be exposed to the most extreme, misogynistic sex acts imaginable, thanks to the phenomenon of Internet porn.

Before the Internet Age, kids learned about sex in a variety of ways. In more repressed societies, it was a fumbling guessing game; in more open places, there were ceremonies, rituals, wise elders and careful teachers who ushered young folks into the mysteries of human sexuality. 

For baby boomer boys, such as me, the ritual was standing nervously in front of a drugstore magazine rack and surreptitiously slipping a Playboy between the pages of a Sports Illustrated. Even if we successfully eluded vigilant store clerks, we did not see anything all that objectionable – some naughty but cute cartoons and a few gorgeous nude women presented as goddesses who might live next door.

Now, with the right key words typed into a search engine, any 10-year-old boy can see pretty women and not-so-pretty women abusing themselves and being abused by men who look as if they are on work release from prison. And I’m not talking about tender sex acts, which, one could argue, might be instructive for a young person wondering what all the fuss is about. I’m talking about what amounts to sexual assault. Even if it is just “acting” -- and I do not think it always is -- these are images that would shock most adults. Who knows what effect it has on kids? 

Yes, to see full-length versions of the hard-core stuff, a person has to pay, but there is a sea of free video clips out there that is only a click or two away. About this, as about all technology, I’m sure kids are smarter than adults. If they want to see it, they can see it. 

Is this something to worry about? Will children develop a warped view of sex and the treatment of women or, as young people do with violent video games, will most be able to separate extreme screen images from real human interaction?

I’m not sure there is a definitive answer to that, but it is worth pondering. This is something new in the world, yet another fallen wall between the innocence of childhood and the darker regions of adulthood.

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