Just a few weeks ago, Enough Is Enough — a non-partisan, non-profit dedicated working toward a culture in which “all people are respected and valued; for a childhood with a protected period of innocence; for healthy sexuality; and for a society free from sexual exploitation” — released a revised version of its earlier report titled “The Internet Pornography Pandemic: The Largest Unregulated Experiment in Human History.”
It’s extensive. It’s troubling.
Still, it’s important and should be read.
The report is authored by Donna Rice Hughes, the agency’s president, who served on the Child Online Protection Commission and the Attorney General Technology Task Force in 1990s when the Children’s Online Protection Act (COPA) was forged.
Some of the statistics (which are footnoted in the report, but not here on the site) quoted in the report include:
- Porn Sites Get More Visitors Each Month Than Netflix, Amazon And Twitter Combined.
- 30% of the Internet industry is pornography.
- The online porn industry makes over $3,000 per second.
- Mobile porn is expected to reach $2.8 billion by 2015.
- The United States is the largest producer and exporter of hard core pornographic DVDs and web material.
- A Google Trends analysis indicates that searches for “Teen Porn” have more than tripled between 2005–2013. Total searches for teen–related porn reached an estimated 500,000 daily in March 2013 — one–third of total daily searches for pornographic web sites.
In the report, Hughes says that pornographers are marketing themselves to kids using:
- Free Teaser images: Most pornography sites do not request age verification of their visitors and offer a multitude of free samples of pictures and/or streaming videos to entice users.
- Innocent Word searches: Pornographers use popular terms or innocent words that may have little or nothing to do with the content they display they display to increase traffic to their sites through search engines.
- Misspelled Words: Online pornographers purchase domain names with commonly–misspelled words, such as typing “boyz” instead of “boys,” which can direct an Internet surfer who misspells a word on his keyboard to sites containing extreme hard core material.”
- Stealth Sites: Online pornographers often purchase “Stealth URLs.” These are sites with web addresses that are close in name to the “legitimate” site.
- Cartoon Characters and Child Icons: Pornographers misuse popular cartoon characters such Disney characters.
- Pop–ups and ad Banners: Pornographers often purchase available banner space advertisements on popular websites and social networking spaces hoping to draw young users to their sites.
- free flash games: Many popular websites integrate interactive, easy–to–use games that are designed to be attractive to children, such as puzzle games, word games, card games, and uncomplicated animated games. However, pornographic games such as ‘orgasm girl’ are easily accessible to children.
- e–mail spam: Otherwise known as “junk e–mail”
- Mousetrapping: This crafty “tech–trick” prevents users from escaping a pornographic site once they have entered it.
- Looping: A seemingly never–ending stream of pornographic pop–ups that appear on the computer screen that continues until the computer is shut down.
- Porn–napping: Pornographers purchase expired domain names, so what was once a web address for a legitimate company takes users to a pornographic site.
The report has plenty of other things to say, and it makes a case for a public-private collaboration to reverse the trends in our culture, similar to the campaign used by William Wilberforce when he confronted the slave trade in 18th Century England.
Moreover, the report directly contradicts popular thinking that pornography is both normative and harmless. While the New York Times ran a piece titled “Does Porn Hurt Children,” written by David A. Segal on March 28, 2014 in which the author concluded that “the jury is still our with respect to the hazardous mix of teenagers an pornography,” Hughes insists that research has determined that exposing minors to pornography is child sex abuse.
Furthermore, Hughes quotes Maryann Laden, PhD, Director of Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program Center for Cognitive Therapy, University of Pennsylvania who has said that “there is a growing body of peer–reviewed research supporting the unequivocal harm to youth from exposure to Internet pornography.
In short, science supports what those of us who have been trapped in pornography addiction found out through experience: pornography is destructive, endlessly so. It’s cancerous in the way it operates and the way it attacks a person’s soul. Porn, like cancer, uses a person’s body against itself, all while re-shaping a person’s brain.