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The Birds And The Bees — And Porn — In The Internet Age46:57
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An internet user points out at a porn site showing a blank screen, August 3, 2015. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)
An internet user points out at a porn site showing a blank screen, August 3, 2015. (Manjunath Kiran/AFP/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: A gentle warning to listeners across the country. This hour will address mature subject matter that some may find sexually explicit.


With Meghna Chakrabarti

Hardcore, violent porn is just a click away on even young children’s phones and tablets. Teens are reporting that porn is their primary source of information on sex. One group is trying to change that.

Guests

Gail Dines, president and CEO of Culture Reframed, a nonprofit that provides training and education to teachers and parents to insulate children from porn culture. Professor emerita of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College. Author of “Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality.” (@GailDines)

Heidi Olson, pediatric nurse and a sexual assault nurse examiner.

Bryant Paul, professor of media psychology at Indiana University. His research focuses on sex in the media and the social and psychological effects of pornography. Co-producer of the documentary and Netflix series “Hot Girls Wanted.” (@Profbpaul)

From The Reading List

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New York Times Magazine: “What Teenagers Are Learning From Online Porn” — “On average, boys are around 13, and girls are around 14, when they first see pornography, says Bryant Paul, an associate professor at Indiana University’s Media School and the author of studies on porn content and adolescent and adult viewing habits. In a 2008 University of New Hampshire survey, 93 percent of male college students and 62 percent of female students said they saw online porn before they were 18. Many females, in particular, weren’t seeking it out. Thirty-five percent of males said they had watched it 10 or more times during adolescence.

“Porn Literacy, which began in 2016 and is the focus of a pilot study, was created in part by Emily Rothman, an associate professor at Boston University’s School of Public Health who has conducted several studies on dating violence, as well as on porn use by adolescents. She told me that the curriculum isn’t designed to scare kids into believing porn is addictive, or that it will ruin their lives and relationships and warp their libidos. Instead it is grounded in the reality that most adolescents do see porn and takes the approach that teaching them to analyze its messages is far more effective than simply wishing our children could live in a porn-free world.

“Imagine that you are a 14-year-old today. A friend might show you a short porn clip on his phone during the bus ride to school or after soccer practice. A pornographic GIF appears on Snapchat. Or you mistype the word ‘fishing’ and end up with a bunch of links to ‘fisting’ videos. Like most 14-year-olds, you haven’t had sex, but you’re curious, so maybe you start searching and land on one of the many porn sites that work much like YouTube — XVideos.com, Xnxx.com, BongaCams.com, all of them among the 100 most-frequented websites in the world, according to Alexa Top Sites. Or you find Pornhub, the most popular of the group, with 80 million visitors a day and more traffic than Pinterest, Tumblr or PayPal. The mainstream websites aren’t verifying your age, and your phone allows you to watch porn away from the scrutinizing eyes of adults. If you still have parental-control filters, you probably have ways around them

“Besides, there’s a decent chance your parents don’t think you are watching porn. Preliminary analysis of data from a 2016 Indiana University survey of more than 600 pairs of children and their parents reveals a parental naïveté gap: Half as many parents thought their 14- and 18-year-olds had seen porn as had in fact watched it. And depending on the sex act, parents underestimated what their kids saw by as much as 10 times.”

The Economist: “How to make social media safe for children” — “In March and April Jim Steyer, founder of Common Sense Media, a children’s advocacy group, badgered members of America’s Congress to regulate the apps children are using online. Their response on Capitol Hill shocked him. ‘We already regulated Nickelodeon, Disney channel and pbs Kids,’ they replied, referring to rules for television enacted in the 1990s and 2000s (with his help). They had apparently missed a series of recent scandals: children exposed to violence and pornography, their data being collected, paedophiles lurking in comments sections of videos depicting youngsters. ‘We’re changing at warp speed,’ Mr Steyer says, ‘and we’re still talking about “Sesame Street.” ‘

“Not for much longer. Members of Congress are drafting multiple bills to regulate how internet platforms treat children. Britain has proposed child-safety rules, including prohibitions on features designed to keep users hooked. From July it is expected to require porn sites to bar users under 18; MindGeek, which owns many salacious sites, wants to use an age-verification registry in order to comply (and, in doing so, make it easier to charge adult visitors for content). In Delhi politicians are considering rules that could stop the data of anyone under 18 from being collected. The eu bars tech giants from garnering data and targeting ads at children. Last year California adopted similar privacy protections that also forbid tech companies from ignoring users’ actual age. Most of these provisions will be enforced with heavy penalties.”

KHSB: “Children abusing children: Children’s Mercy sees dangerous trend involving children and porn” — “Children’s Mercy says they’re seeing a disturbing trend in child sexual assault cases.

“Children are abusing children.

“‘I think that was kind of shocking to us all as we were collecting this data, is that almost half of our perpetrators are minors,’ said Heidi Olson, the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) Coordinator.

“The SANE program’s data shows perpetrators are likely to be between 11 and 15 years-old.

“‘Another thing we’re noticing is a lot of those sexual assaults are violent sexual assaults, so they include physical violence in addition to sexual violence,’ said Jennifer Hansen, a child abuse pediatrician at Children’s Mercy.

“Recently, the International Association of Forensic Nurses said the hospital is in the top five percent in the United States, which includes hospitals that see adults, in the volume of sexual assault victims they see.”

Stefano Kotsonis produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright NPR 2019.

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