Anand (name changed) was very good at studies till class 10. When he entered class 11, he demanded from his father internet facility for his computer and mobile phone saying that he needed to browse his study-related subjects. His demand was met. As days/months passed, his father noticed a change in Anand’s behaviour. Anand kept himself aloof from the family members, locked up in his room most of the time, under the pretext of studies. There was a gradual decline in his academic performance and he failed in class 12. His academic life ended in disaster. It was indeed a big shock and terrible blow for his family. He was then taken to a Counsellor who found that Anand was addicted to pornography which resulted in his academic failure.
Prema (name changed), a young wife, started her married life happily. Her husband who was addicted to pornography asked Prema to watch porn materials along with him. Initially she could not protest. Later she realized that she was being led into an artificial and abnormal world. Her husband forced her to perform all types of abnormal sex with him. This became a routine torture for Prema. She tried to advise him but her efforts were in vain. She also tried to take him for counselling but her husband never cooperated. Finally she decided to divorce him. Thus her married life ended up in disaster.
The above true incidents are just samples. Like Anand there are thousands of youth, mostly boys, who go astray and invite psychological disorders into their lives. Similarly, there are numerous young brides whose married life is filled up with darkness. Today mobile phones are omnipresent and they have become “mini theatre” for the entertainment-lovers. Interestingly media reports reveal that today all categories of people like Legislators/Politicians, Teachers/Professors, Students, Employers and Employees watch porn stuff during their working hours!! Of course religious leaders are in no way exempted from this. Are we not heading towards disaster?
According to Pat Fagan, Senior Policy Analyst, Family Research Council-USA, “Pornography is a visual representation of sexuality which distorts an individual's concept of the nature of conjugal relations. This, in turn, alters both sexual attitudes and behaviour. It is a major threat to marriage, to family, to children and to individual happiness. In undermining marriage it is one of the factors in undermining social stability. Social scientists, clinical psychologists, and biologists have begun to clarify some of the social and psychological effects, and neurologists are beginning to delineate the biological mechanisms through which pornography produces its powerful negative effects.” He further elaborates the key findings on the effects of pornography as follows:
Family and Pornography: Married men who are involved in pornography feel less satisfied with their conjugal relations and less emotionally attached to their wives. Wives notice and are upset by the difference. Pornography use is a pathway to infidelity and divorce, and is frequently a major factor in these family disasters. Among couples affected by one spouse's addiction, two-thirds experience a loss of interest in sexual intercourse. Both spouses perceive pornography viewing as tantamount to infidelity. Pornography viewing leads to a loss of interest in good family relations.
Individual and Pornography: Pornography is addictive, and neuroscientists are beginning to map the biological substrate of this addiction. Users tend to become desensitized to the type of porn material they use, become bored with it, and then seek more perverse forms of pornography. Men who view pornography regularly have a higher tolerance for abnormal sexuality, including rape, sexual aggression, and sexual promiscuity. Prolonged consumption of pornography by men produces stronger notions of women as commodities or as "sex objects." Pornography engenders greater sexual permissiveness, which in turn leads to a greater risk of out-of-wedlock births and sexually transmitted diseases. These, in turn, lead to still more weaknesses and debilities. Child-sex offenders are more likely to view pornography regularly or to be involved in its distribution.
Other effects of Pornography:
Ø Many adolescents who view pornography initially feel shame, diminished self-confidence, and sexual uncertainty, but these feelings quickly shift to unadulterated enjoyment with regular viewing. The presence of sexually oriented businesses significantly harms the surrounding community, leading to increases in crime and decreases in property values.
Ø Pornography is about sex being used for the wrong reasons. Because it is sex without emotional closeness, the underlying hunger remains unsatisfied. The viewer starts wondering what is wrong with their relationships and gets irritated or depressed. They end up feeling emotionally empty and disconnected from those around them.
Ø When people view pornography, they end up creating an intimate bond with an artificial, fake world and can actually lose the ability to bond with real people. Pornography results in feelings of emptiness, low self-esteem and deep loneliness. It ultimately creates emotional distance in relationships. Because the world of pornography is artificial it creates an appetite for more and more.
Ø Studies show that actual brain function changes in someone who has an addiction and the changes are the same in all addiction: alcohol, drugs, or pornography. Because pornography use can become an actual addiction, viewers are not able to stop through their own will power. Pornography addicts will need to engage in the same difficult recovery process a drug addict has to go through.
Ø Using pornography to feel pleasure and escape feelings of low self-esteem, anxiety, boredom and frustration creates a gateway for addiction. When the rush of pleasure disappears, the feelings a user is trying to escape from re-appear stronger than ever, and they are compelled to repeat the cycle. Over time, their brain chemistry is altered and a full-fledged addiction occurs.
Ø Initially, people who are attracted to pornography say: "This is my favourite pastime"; "This is my reward to myself for making it through a rough day". Eventually, they start saying: "I no longer feel an emotional response to anything"; "There is nothing in my life I enjoy doing" and "I feel totally isolated from the world" etc.
Ø Since pornography is an addictive substance, it creates an appetite for itself. This appetite increases over time as a person spends more and more time viewing pornography. The time, spent viewing pornography, will jeopardize work, relationships and interest in healthy pastimes.
Ø In the long run, pornography will not shore up a shaky ego. It will not fill the emptiness left from childhood wounds or abandonment. It will not save a shaky relationship or failing marriage. In fact, it will magnify each emotional wound from the past and cripple your ability to meet your essential emotional needs, damage your ability to have a healthy relationship and leave you unable to sexually or emotionally respond to your partner.
Elder M. Russell Ballard identified seven things that every parent can do to minimize the negative effect media can have on families:
1. Hold family councils and decide what the media standards are going to be.
2. Spend enough quality time with the children that parent are consistently the main influence in their lives, not the media or any peer group.
3. Make good media choices and set good examples for the children.
4. Limit the amount of time the children watch TV or play video games or use the internet each day. Virtual reality must not become their reality.
5. Use internet ‘filters’ and TV programming ‘locks’ to prevent the children from ‘chancing upon’ things they should not see. If a child accidentally views pornography or is encouraged by someone online to view it, the child should immediately turn off the monitor or computer and tell an adult.
6. Have TVs and computers in a much-used common room in the home, not in a bedroom or a private place.
7. Take time to watch appropriate media with the children and discuss with them how to make choices that will uplift and build rather than degrade and destroy. (Source: LDS Family Services).
Parents can lay the foundation in the family for self-control, proper regard for sexuality, and healthy emotional development by providing a secure environment in which healthy attitudes will grow. Love, kindness, good communication, and appropriate expressions of affection are vital. Each of our children needs the security that comes from spending individual quality time with us as well as with their friends and appropriate role models. Within the context of a warm and loving relationship, we will have our greatest influence as we teach our children to have a proper attitude about sexuality, warn them against unhealthy and immoral practices, and instill in them the desire to remain chaste and virtuous. Responsible societies minimize negative influences that affect young children.
The main defences against pornography are close family life, a good marriage and good relations between parents and children, coupled with deliberate parental monitoring of internet use by the children. Given the massive, deleterious individual, marital, family, and social effects of pornography, it is time for citizens, communities, and government to reconsider their laissez-faire approach. Let us save our youth and safeguard ourselves from moving towards disaster.
(Published on 03rd April 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 14)#