The long-standing issues on pornography have been present in every generation and have undeniably caused much negative effects on the way people viewed sexuality and their relationships to the opposite sex. As the spread of different kinds of technologies increased further, especially as the use of computers and the Internet became more prominent in the lives of the adolescents, the problems and issues on pornography worsened even more (Ybarra, M. & Mitchell, K., 2005). The increase in access of young children and the adolescents to the use of Internet and the viewing of pornographic sites has posed serious threats and harm over the psychological and social development of these people (Mesch, G. S., 2006).
Because of pornography, the healthy views of young people on sexuality becomes distorted, making themselves slaves to selfish sexual gratification and losing their respect to themselves and to other people, especially among women. Pornography also paints a distorted picture of the conjugal act which is meant to be “sacred” and is only legitimized within the context of marriage. Moreover, it destroys the foundation of purity, respect and love which fuels and drives relationships like marriage and family (Fagan, P. 2010).
Given this issue on the faster spread of pornography, the issue indeed calls for immediate appropriate actions from both the families and the bigger society. Apparently, there is a need to identify the adverse effects of pornography on an adolescent, how it destroys and distorts his or her healthy view on sexuality as well as the proper use of that sexuality. Moreover, there is also a need to identify the importance for an adolescent to have a healthy sexual attitude and state the repercussions of having such an attitude on the society and the persons he/she deals with (Fagan, P. 2010).
Statement of the Problem and Sub-Problems
This paper on “The Adverse Effects of Pornography on an Adolescent’s Healthy Sexual Attitude Development” aims to disclose the long list of the adverse effects of pornography on the lives of adolescent both males and females aged 12 to 18 years old and identify the means on how pornography is most often accessed by these adolescents. This paper will also attempt to describe and emphasize the importance of having a healthy sexual attitude among the adolescents and how having this kind of right attitude will improve their notion of respect, love and relationships.
Specifically, this paper will attempt to identify and address the following problems and sub-problems on pornography:
What is pornography?
What are the types of materials considered as pornographic?
How do adolescents, both males and females aged 12 to 17 years old, access these pornographic materials?
Why do these adolescents resort to viewing these pornographic materials?
What are the adverse effects of pornography on an adolescent?
What is a healthy sexual attitude?
How important is having a healthy sexual attitude among adolescents?
How do the adverse effects of pornography affect adolescents’ healthy sexual attitude development?
In this research study on “The Adverse Effects of Pornography on an Adolescent’s Healthy Sexual Attitude Development”, the following hypotheses will be answered and addressed:
Hypothesis1: If the adolescents would be more exposed to pornography, then there is a higher level of adverse effect on their sexual attitude
Hypothesis2: If the adolescents carry a negative sexual attitude, then this was most likely triggered by pornography
Hypothesis3: If the adolescents would not be exposed to pornography, then the adolescent would have a healthy sexual attitude
Hypothesis4: If the adolescents possess a positive sexual attitude, then this was because the adolescent was not exposed to pornography
The scope of this study will merely involve respondents who are males and females, 12 to 18 years old, and within the adolescent stage. Since the prevalence of this issue or problem is most rampant in this stage of life, the researcher chose to limit the study to identifying the adverse effects of pornography among these young adolescents. This research study will not however cover the adverse effects of pornography on young adults whose access and viewership of pornography is also quite high. The researcher assumes that the level of maturity and freedom to make a choice is what separates the young adults from the adolescents wherein the latter needs more supervision and guidance than the former. The sole focus of this research will also be on how the adverse effects of pornography destroy or distort the sexual attitude development of adolescents and will not include some other repercussions like for instance, the sexual abuses committed by adolescents due to pornography.
Definition of Terms
1Adolescent (noun) – the process or state of growing up; a period in life characterized by many changes in the biological, emotional and psychological make-up of a person; usually referred to as the period in life between puberty and maturity; a major stage of development in a person life usually occurring between 12 to 18 years old
2Adverse (adjective) – a result contrary to one’s interest or expectations; something harmful and unfavorable; detrimental
3Casual Sex (noun) – doing the sexual act with a person whom one is not committed to; having sex with another person without any plans of going into a long term relationship with that person; an act of fornication
4Conjugal Act (noun) -pertains to the sexual communion of a man and a woman within the bounds of marriage; sexual intercourse by a wife and a husband
5Digital Media (noun) – content that was digitized in terms of content, audio and graphics and is transferred to other computer networks or over the internet
6Internet (noun) – huge network of computers linked with all the other computer networks around the world; uses various communication protocols to access, send or receive data about almost anything to other computer networks
7Pornography (noun) – refers to the magazines, photographs or books and even music or art that is design to stimulate sexual desires and impulses by depicting nudity or forms of sexual intercourse
8Sexuality (noun) – refers to how the people experience sexual desires and their capacities to express themselves as sexual beings
Several underlying assumptions were derived by the researcher out of this research study on The Adverse Effects of Pornography on an Adolescent’s Healthy Sexual Attitude Development” and these are the following:
That an adolescent’s sexual attitude is directly linked to the extent of exposure to pornography an adolescent had
That an adolescent who was not exposed to pornography will have a relatively healthier sexual attitude
That an adolescent who has a negative sexual attitude has been more exposed to pornography
That an adolescent who has a positive sexual attitude has been exposed less to pornography
Importance of Study
This research study is aimed at exposing the very sensitive issue on pornography out in the open to increase the awareness of adolescents on the adverse effects of viewing pornographies and how this act leads to a complete distortion of their views on relationships and their sexuality. This research study intends to educate and inform both the adolescents, their families and societies on the damage that pornography does to the sexual attitudes of these young people as well as inform them on the specific action steps to be taken in order to immediately address this issue on pornography and totally minimize or prevent them from accessing these materials.
III. Data and Treatment of Data
A. Data needed and the means for obtaining the data
Both qualitative and quantitative data will be derived from this research study. Both data will detail the adverse effects of pornography on the lives of adolescent both males and females aged 12 to 18 years old. Furthermore, the acquired data from these respondents will identify the means on how pornography is most often accessed by these adolescents, why they access pornographic materials and how often they access and view pornographic materials given a certain period of time.
Both qualitative and quantitative data for this research study will be obtained via the series of in-depth interviews that will be conducted by the researcher as well the survey questionnaires that will be provided to the chosen respondents.
B. Research Methodology
Qualitative and quantitative research studies will be conducted for this research study to determine the different and most predominant adverse effects of pornography on adolescents, 12 to 18 years old and how these adverse effects disrupt the healthy sexual development of these adolescents.
A substantial amount of 500 respondents, males and females, most high school and college students will be randomly selected from various schools and universities to participate in the study. The qualifications include the demographics assessment as well as the behavioral qualification of “having been exposed to pornography either accidentally or willfully for at least three times”.
Out of the 500 randomly selected respondents, a survey questionnaire will be floated to probe on the habits and day to day activities of these adolescents and how they get to access or view pornography. Then each of the 500 respondents will undergo in-depth interviews via telephone to maintain confidentiality and build trust and comfort with the interviewers as sensitive questions will be asked of them regarding their pornographic viewing and the apparent adverse effects of this act on them.
C. Specific treatment of the data for each sub problem
Data obtained will then be inputted in the SPSS or the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences for a much clearer and accurate data analysis. The measures will be carefully weighed by using this appropriate statistical tool and the measures will as well be analyzed strictly.
IV. Qualifications of the researcher and any assistants
The researchers and the assistants she will be hiring for this research study will come from various market research agencies who have had previous experience in conducting consumer and respondent interviews and survey data gathering on sensitive issues related to pornography. This is to build the trust, confidentiality and comfort of the respondents in sharing their experiences on pornography.
V. Outline of the proposed study (steps to be taken, timeline, etc)
After six months of the data gathering procedure and the tabulation of results and findings of the study, information dissemination will commence on the sixth month. This is to inform the beneficiaries of the study of the real adverse effects of pornography among adolescents in order for them to conduct awareness and solution-oriented programs to address this issue.
The appendices part shall include the various tables and graphs collated from the literature reviews and related studies gathered for this research study.
II. Review of Related Literature
According to Zillman, D & Bryant, J. (1989), pornography has been with the people for the longest time and is possibly as old as the existence of prostitution since the ancient days. In terms of the passing and exchange of sexual information, different cultures vary in their tolerance level. Some cultures embrace pornography more than other conservative cultures. There are some cultures who consider the oppression of sexual behavior and desires a violation of the human rights to freedom while there are other cultures who object violently on the existence of pornography as it causes harmful effects on the minds of the people.
Zillman, D & Bryant, J. (1989) points out that the development in technologies further aggravated the issue on pornography. During the ancient days, it was found out that only the rich and the privileged few have direct access on drawings and written works which stimulate the sexual impulses of people. But today, videos of all kinds of sexual acts circulating over the internet have already been rampant enough that anyone can freely access them anytime. Not only adults but more and more adolescents are given the freedom to sneak a peek on these sexual videos which poison the minds of the young.
In every culture in the world, the depictions of sexual acts on literary works, drawings, music and art have been long before readily accessible and have already been widely circulated. Different forms of sexual depictions are being defined and classified by people as either pornographic or not depending on the culture’s interpretations. Nevertheless, experts say that these depictions still create adverse or harmful effects on the pure minds of the young which should never be tolerated (Zillman, D & Bryant, J., 1989).
According to Hyde, M (1964), pornography is defined as any explicit and clear portrayal of a sexual activity or suggestive sexual objects which are used for the purposes of stimulating sexual desires and heightening the sexual impulses of people. Hyde, M (1964) however stresses that the live portrayal of these sexual activities are not anymore considered pornography since a pornography only shows the depiction and not the actual sexual act itself.
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The portrayal of these pornographic images are most commonly found magazines, books, photos, paintings, music, videos, or even video games. Given these, the accessibility of pornographic materials are very easy and do not require much of an effort. Nowadays, even children below 5 years old can easily access these materials via the Internet (Hyde, M., 1964).
B. Types of Pornographic Materials
Since apparently, pornographic materials manifest itself in different forms, it is important to also enumerate in detail the tools or vehicles most often used by people to show pornography. Knowledge of this matter is very important as some people, because of the lack of understanding, accidentally jump on a pornographic page or site and become hooked with it. The purpose of knowing the various types of pornographic materials is important so that people will avoid these sexual materials and not be tempted to view them.
1. Print Pornography
In the 1950s, print pornography was quite popular among the Americans as men found it more exciting to view nude women in pornographic books and literatures. During that time, the open and explicit depiction of sexual acts was “taboo” and people found it improper to use vulgar sexual terms. In the 1960s, still photography of nude women became more popular. Furthermore, people were already open to publicly displaying and buying these pornographic materials. Artists and painters defended their paintings and art works displaying nudity as merely works of art. By 1970s, magazines depicting pornography, homosexual activities and sexual violence became popular as well (Zillman, D & Bryant, J., 1989).
In the 1990s, print pornography further grew in circulation, became more accessible to both men and women and the taste of people for what is obscene and what is not obscene became less strict and more tolerant. Up until the year 2000, print pornography has already reached the height of popularity of print pornography that sellers and distributors of these books and magazines already became rich by merely selling and circulating these sexual materials. Despite the high awareness of people on the adverse effects of pornography on the society, these distributors and sellers still ignore them as the financial returns to their business are so great that majority of these pornography distributors are already included in the world’s wealthiest and highly-recognized businesses (New York Times, 2000).
2. “Novels” Pornography
Stories and confessions about sexual adventures and the narration of very explicit sexual details also became rampant in novels and magazines since the 1950s. These fictional sex stories, sometimes even accompanied by photographs depicting sexual activities have also caught the eye and interest of the people that pornography became one of the driving factors why novels and magazines have been selling like hotcakes ever since. In a study conducted by five different publishers on rate of sexual content and promiscuity among novels, a big percentage of the stories depicted sexual content with 60% portrayals on kissing and 63% portrayals on sexual act itself (Zillman, D & Bryant, J., 1989).
3. Books Pornography
In the 1970s, quite a big number of paperback books were discovered to contain sexually implicit content including obvious depictions of sexual activities as well as compilations of literatures containing sexual images. While these may be purchased secretly or under the counter, a great number of these reading materials are still accessible to any person whether young or old. Oftentimes, these sexual literatures even disguise itself in the form of a book but the content is definitely purely sexual. There were also various studies conducted in the past that books and writers were slowly increasing sexual content in their literary works in order to catch the interest of people (Zillman, D & Bryant, J., 1989).
4. Magazine Pornography
Magazine pornography may undeniably be the most popular form of pornography prior to the Internet age. The legality of selling sexual magazines has long been a subject of debate by several concerned institutions as magazines are very accessible to all age groups. In fact the biggest distributors of sexual depictions on magazines are also the richest corporations of today due to the wide circulation and readership rates of pornographic magazines. Magazines such as the Playboy has also become a household name already since many people, especially men, have experienced buying this magazine at least once in their life. It is not surprising therefore to know that men are the most avid users and buyers of these magazines which show nude women models. In a study conducted in the past, 35% of the magazine contents were contents related to women (Zillman, D & Bryant, J., 1989).
5. Internet Pornography
According to Singel, R. (2004), the wide accessibility of the internet at home is what led to the popularity of internet pornography. The term “internet pornography” was according to various researchers, undeniably the worst form of addiction which is now rampant among adolescents. Researchers in a recent Senate Hearing revealed that the pornography in the Internet is now the newest form of drugs to the young people leading to other worse forms of addiction such as fornication, misogyny, boob jobs and various forms of sexual abuses.
According to Mary Layden of the University of Pennsylvania, internet porn is possibly the worst form of addiction that distorts both the psychological and sexual health of people, especially the young ones. She referred to internet porn as a drug and the internet as a “drug delivery system” which remains undetected since people are not known when they engage in it. Also, internet pornography is free and is very much available 24/7 that even young children can access it (Singel, R., 2004).
All these types of pornographic materials are needless to say, the best examples of pornography and are easily detected based on their form and content. Any explicit depictions of sexual activities and sexual objects as well as nudity and sexual violence are considered pornographic whatever the media vehicle or tool is used.
Forms of Pornography Access
According to Ybarra, M. & Mitchell, K. (2005), the Internet remains to be the most popular and easiest form of accessing pornography. The fact that Internet is readily available and free increased its prominence and use among the young people especially in accessing various websites on pornography. A growing number of children reportedly have accessed pornography either accidentally or willfully as some of their friends did and the negative repercussions of this among children and adolescents are uncontrollable and definitely controversial.
Vast number of studies related to pornography has already been conducted over the past years. Apparently, the results reflected that the Internet is the most popular form of accessing porn among adolescents. In the United States alone, 90% of adolescents aged 12 to 18 have Internet access at home and a vast majority of them have either visited a pornographic website accidentally or intentionally at least once in their adolescent life. Studies revealed as well that since the pornographic websites are free and the readers/viewers remain undetected or anonymous, adolescents became fond of accessing these websites (Ybarra, M. & Mitchell, K., 2005).
What was quite alarming though was the growing number of adolescents accessing porn websites in the Internet purposefully. 15% of these adolescents have even resorted to lying about their age in order to gain access to these websites. On the other hand, it was also interesting to know that about the same percentage as the adolescent porn viewers are also adult male viewers of pornography. Moreover, the studies revealed that the reasons why accessing pornography over the Internet was the most popular, were anonymity, unlimited access and the less strict requirements of getting in to a website.
Nevertheless, aside from the Internet, other forms of pornography access are also popular among the adolescents. Some of these are via watching pornographic movies or videos and reading x-rated books and magazines (Ybarra, M. & Mitchell, K., 2005).
D. Why Adolescents View Pornography
According to Batty (2004), recent researchers showed that majority of the adolescents of today have already come into contact with pornography in the Internet. Surprisingly, 57% of the youth today aged 12 to 18 years old have already seen or accessed pornographic sites online either accidentally or purposefully.
Most parents are not aware of this shocking reality that even young children at the age of 10 have also reportedly sought pornography over the Internet because of several reasons and one of which is curiosity. Apparently, sexual issues and encounters relating to sexuality are still not being comfortably opened up within the family. Sex is still a “taboo” topic for many families that their children seek guidance and direction from their friends rather than their parents when it comes to this matter. This leads these children to wrong notions of sex and the wrong use of their sexuality because of the lack of proper guidance and knowledge. Studies also revealed that 1/3 of the adolescents today have had nasty sexual comments from other people which led them to become curious about sexual matters (Batty, 2004).
Furthermore, the lack of proper guidance and education about sexuality issues from the adolescent’s parents and the lack of time spent at home by the parents is most likely the root cause of all these pornography-seeking acts committed by adolescents as the studies revealed (Batty, 2004).
E. The Adverse Effects of Pornography to an Adolescent
According to Fagan (2010), pornography poisons the mind by presenting a false and distorted view of the reality specifically about love, life and relationships, and even women. People become self-seeking and abusive as they desire more to quench their burning sexual desires in the most unnatural ways. Aside from this direct effect, there is still quite a long list of adverse effects that pornography causes on the life of an adolescent and some of these are the following:
Distorted notion or perception on sex- pornography paints a distorted image of sex as harsh yet fun forms of recreational activities presenting women as mere sexual objects. It also perpetuates the notion that any kind of sexual activity is permissible and that sex has no negative consequences on the part of the people involved in the activity.
Negative notion that women are mere sex object- exposures to pornography can very much lead the adolescents to thinking that women are not meant to be respected and that they are meant to be used for sexual purposes only. Moreover, sexual violence which are usually contained in pornographic films, suggest that women “enjoy and want” to be raped and that the act of rape is also permissible
Sexual addiction- pornography increases the likelihood of the adolescents committing pre-marital sex and any other kind of sexual activity which can lead to teen pregnancy and the spread of sexual diseases
Abuse and other forms of aggression- pornography paints a distorted picture of sexual enjoyment in the form of abuse whether that is sadism or masochism. This leads adolescents to think that sexually abusing someone is permissible and fun when in fact it is a form of sexual disorder
Produces many sex offenders- pornography poisons the mind and creates an abnormal sexual disorder or desire in a person’s mind leading that person to sexually abuse other people such as women and children
Imitation of sexual behaviors- pornography leads adolescents to imitate what the sexual characters in the porn are doing whether that is good or bad. It increases the desire of adolescents to have sex even at the improper time
Sexual trauma- while many pornography viewers find porn to be sexually stimulating, some adolescents find the sexual act depictions disturbing and fearful leading them to get traumatized and paranoid about sex which is also unhealthy
Acceptance of Promiscuity- pornographic viewers also become desensitized when it comes to sexual issues and promiscuity. Slowly, they become more open and tolerant to sexual behaviors even on public
Destroyed relationships with the opposite sex due to wrong perceptions on sex- pornography paints a picture that sexual desires and gratification are more exciting than having relationships. Hence, the adolescents might be led to thinking that forming relationships are merely means to an end of gaining selfish sexual satisfaction (Standing Together to Oppose Pornography, 2005).
F. What it means to have a Healthy Sexual Attitude among the Adolescents
Proper communication and guidance about the sexuality and other sexual issues are the sole responsibility of parents to their adolescent child. Naturally, the topic on sex and sexuality is quite embarrassing to be opened by a son or daughter to their parents. Nonetheless, without the proper channeling of these important information, a child would be led astray to seeking out the advice of his or friends who know nothing about sexuality as well (Avert, 2010).
Having a sexual attitude simply means having a positive and mature view of sex and the reason why it was created as well as its main role or function. Certainly, sex is meant for procreation purposes as well as maintenance of the bond or intimacy between a husband and a wife. The healthy view of sex states that outside the “commitment walls” of marriage, sex would definitely lead to negative repercussions (Avert, 2010).
As experienced by many adolescents or teenagers nowadays, sex outside of marriage has led them to become abusive, selfish and discontented. Some of them fell into the trap of teenage pregnancy and sexual addiction which destroyed their lives and their future.
It is therefore important for these adolescents to be properly oriented about sex and sexuality at the right time by the right people, who are their parents. The parents are responsible for educating their children on what sex and sexuality is for, how to properly use them. The parents are also responsible to educate their children on the right time to use their sexuality, that is, within the bounds of marriage (Avert, 2010).
It is also important that the parents are aware of their role on educating their children. Most of the time, parents do not stay long anymore at home and spend less and lesser time with their children leading these children to seek companionship and advice from other people who also are not capable of properly orienting them of this sensitive issue.
Parents should also know that having a healthy sexual attitude among their children would save them from a lot of trouble and wrong decisions which could ultimately destroy their lives. In the same way, the adolescents must seek their parents advice on their sexuality because it is only their parents who can give them the best advice on this matter (Avert, 2010).
How The Adverse Effects of Pornography Affect the Adolescents’ Healthy Sexual Attitude Development
Pornography undeniably poisons the young minds of the adolescents leading them to think that sex is fun and exciting with no resulting responsibilities and consequences.
According to S.T.O.P or the Standing Together to Oppose Pornography (2005), pornography destroys not only the healthy sexual attitude development of adolescents but also, and more importantly, their lives as a whole.
This is because when an adolescent already becomes hooked and addicted to false sex imageries, it pollutes their mind leading them to make the wrong decisions which could range from anything related to sexually abusing a child or the opposite sex, i.e., committing rape and other abusive sexual acts just to satisfy their sexual desires.
It could also lead the adolescents to degrade women and objectify them leading them to consider women as mere sexual objects intended for sexual pleasure. Because of this, these adolescents may just jump into relationships only to sexually gratify themselves and afterwards hurt women or worse, sexually offend women either in private or in public. Since pornography also paints a picture that sex is fun and good, adolescents are most likely to abuse it causing them to do other vices like drinking alcohol and taking drugs just to engage in all types of sexual activities like orgies and debauchery limitlessly (Fagan, 2010).
Moreover, pornography teaches adolescents to be sexually violent to women in bed. It teaches them to become sadistic and masochistic which increases the likelihood of sexual abuses and other forms of sexual aggression inside and outside of bed. By filling their minds with all kinds of distorted sexual images, the adolescents are leading themselves to enslavement to their sexual desires and make them lose control of themselves, making themselves no longer capable of distinguishing what is wrong and what is right. Pornography leads them to destroy themselves and their future since every wrong decision that they commit may actually cause their future to crumble down once. Clearly, there is an immediate need to address this long-standing issue and prevent it from destroying the lives of these adolescents (Fagan, 2010).
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