The Internet makes for a fertile and accessible ground for pornographic content. Unlike institutional and traditional media, such as radio, television, and print media, where censorship policy is imposed by law, the Internet has no such restrictive laws. This reality is absurd, since in the absence of enforcement and control of porn on the Internet, any person of any age can watch and be exposed to pornographic content, both soft and hard core.
In fact, apart from countries that proactively block freedom of information, such as China and Turkey, which have completely removed online porn access, in many parts of the Western world, porn sites are gaining momentum, with an emphasis on exposure to young people, and constitute an ongoing challenge both to parents and the legal authorities.
Since the beginning of the Internet, a lot of sexual and pornographic content has been disseminated through it, but over the years it has succeeded in bringing them to unimaginable dimensions, both in terms of content and accessibility. Pornography, as a result, has become one of the most searched and viewed subjects on the Internet, search engines, social media, forums, blogs, and leisure and entertainment sites. Consequently, the immense exposure to porn on the Internet led to its introduction to new audiences, which did not consume it until only a few years ago, with an emphasis on youth and children.
Estimates indicate that in Israel the age of initial formal exposure to pornographic content is already in the second grade. These exposures usually happen unintentionally, but have long-term effects, both consciously and unconsciously for children. These effects, as a result of exposure, even if one-time, to porn lead to especially severe behavioral and mental effects. Viewing pornographic contents distorts young people’s perceptions of relationship and intimacy even before they reach puberty, arousing their sexual curiosity and may create uncontrollable behavior, with an emphasis on the quest for sexual release, obsessive masturbation, sexually-explicit comments and in extreme cases, God forbid, even indecent acts and rape.
Children exposed to porn do not initially understand what content they have been exposed to, but the activity itself generates interest because porn is recognized in studies as unusually addictive. The results of viewing pornographic content can be seen already in preschool ages and the ramifications on sexual functioning at very young ages that accompany the affected throughout their lives.
In fact, in the modern and digital age in which we live, every child with a smartphone or a computer is a potential victim of the porn industry, which could unwittingly be severely harmed. This requires parents to maintain ongoing supervision over the children’s activities, which is sometimes impossible, given the simple accessibility of the web-enabled porn at the touch of a button at any time and place.