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Should pornography be banned for people under 18?
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Children get addicted to pornography easily

Children are at high risk of porn addiction because of their vulnerability to the addictive nature of the graphic images in pornography. Porn addiction negatively affects brain development, behavior, performance at school, and mental health. It may even cause sexual dysfunction in the future.
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The Argument

Porn addiction is defined as “the silent epidemic” of today, especially for children and adolescents. At this young age, children are vulnerable to the addictive nature of porn’s graphic images. According to an Australian addiction specialist Robert Mittiga, the increasing accessibility to smartphones and computers resulted in a surge in the number of porn-addicted children. Mittiga has also stated that some children even watch pornography at school and share pornographic content with their classmates.[1] Similarly, a 2014 study has also measured addictive behaviors towards the Internet and child pornography consumption.[2] Porn addiction has negative consequences in terms of children’s behavior and development. Amid brain development in children aged between 10 and 13, neurons form at the highest rate. By the age of 15, the brain produces dopamine in full swing. This development enables it to register pleasure at four times the usual rate. Since the brain is still forming, it can become wired in response to pornography exposure. Therefore, pornography damages the “braking system” of the brain and hence leads to impaired judgment, impulsivity, and emotional lability.[3] Altered sexual pleasure can also affect how the brain processes sexual arousal and activity. This may induce psychological erectile dysfunction.[4] Other possible negative effects include unstable relationships with members of the opposite sex, decreased performance at school, negative self-perception, low self-esteem, and technology obsession.[5] If we consider all the negative consequences of porn addiction, pornography should be banned for those under 18.

Counter arguments

Porn addiction does not exist. It is not a recognized type of addiction in psychology. When children say that they are afraid of becoming “addicted” to porn, they are likely voicing a normal curiosity about sex due to puberty. This curiosity should not be framed pathological. In many cases, children do not receive comprehensive sex education. Hence, porn becomes the only available tool for them to learn about sex.[6] Besides, the theory and research behind ‘pornography addiction’ is flawed. Such research has poor experimental designs, limited methodological rigor, and lack of model specification. A 2014 study demonstrated that visual sexual stimuli (VSS) fail to meet standards of addiction. The researchers claim that proposed adverse effects (including erectile problems, difficulty regulating sexual feelings, and neuroadaptations) are non-pathological evidence of learning. Reports of “addictive” use of VSS should be interpreted by considering gender, sexual orientation, libido, and religiosity.[7] Another recent study conducted by UCLA neuroscientists supports the argument that porn addiction does not exist. In the study, people who struggled with porn consumption viewed sexual images. The results showed that, unlike addicted people, they did not display a specific spike in brain activity. Their brain response decreased when viewing porn.[8] Since porn addiction does not exist, children do not have the potential to become addicted to pornography. We should not interpret children’s curiosity for sex as pathological.



Rejecting the premises


This page was last edited on Wednesday, 7 Oct 2020 at 01:28 UTC

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