Dirty secrets

Cell phones, pornography, and the impact of seeing too much too soon


Julianna Norris , Copy/Page Editor

Technology  is no longer limited to the bulky desktop computers our parents used growing up. The world now thrives on portable and handheld technology and it is a part of our everyday lives.

It helps us purchase products, learn new things, and communicate with others. The lives of young people revolve around social media and their phones. However, with the emergence of smartphones we have seen a new use for technology emerge, and its value to society is questionable.

The viewing of pornographic material online is becoming more common among young people as the access to it has become easier. With a mini-computer in your back pocket all the time, it can be tempting to look up whatever you want. However exposing children to pornographer  at  an early age can have devastating and long-lasting consequences.

According to breakthecycle.org, in the era of smartphones the average age of first exposure to pornography is around 11 years old. Because these children are so young, they have no knowledge of what is consensual or respectful intimacy in a relationship. Pornography can become a major source of sex education for young people and has the capability to put false ideas into their heads. Both violent and nonviolent pornography make users more likely to support violence against women and to believe that women enjoy being raped. Research also shows that these beliefs can lead a person can to become sexually aggressive in the future.

Webroot.com, a computer safety company, found that teen pregnancy and depression rates are twice as high when the rate of children’s exposure to pornography is higher. Also, the viewing of sexual content at an immature age disorients them, causing some kids to have trouble deciding on moral values, which leads to  low self-esteem.

Despite what the numbers say, not all students are impacted the same. Some are highly affected by pornography while others have admitted that they have become desensitized to it.

One male high school junior, who chose to remain anonymous, says that his early addiction to pornography has strongly affected many aspects of his teenage years.

“I struggled to find out who I was or what I wanted. I had a challenging time carrying out normal relationships because my view of women was completely twisted,” he said.

Another student, a female freshman, said that she wishes she would have never started to watch pornography.

“I sincerely regret my decision to get myself involved in it when I was younger. It has impacted me in many negative ways, and it is even worse for my conscious since I am a religious person,” she said.

While professionals say that it is harmful for young children to dabble in pornography and other sexually explicit content, it is still becoming an increasingly common habit in children.

Mrs. Danielle Patton, the Bellwood-Antis High School guidance counselor, thinks that as kids get older it is natural to want to explore; however there are healthier ways to do it.

“While it is hard to pinpoint an exact time when it is acceptable to do those things, I think it is becoming an increasing issue with young children. It is concerning that with the availability of technology, young children have the ability to participate in such activities,” said Mrs. Patton.

Because pornography has become such a widespread issue among our youth, bringing detrimental consequences along with it, Many parents find it necessary to limit what  their children are viewing on their technological devices because banning technology usage altogether would be difficult, considering how widely it is used for school, work, and recreation.

Noah Plank, a junior at Bellwood-Antis, thinks that the best way to prevent young children from viewing sexual content on their devices is to have parents monitor the devices themselves, using tools such as Circle, MyKey, iPhone built in parental restrictions, and other iPhone apps.

“I think that for young children, it is important to monitor the usage of their technology because while they are given the tools to participate in certain activities, doesn’t mean they should,” he said.