Today, pornography in children has become a real challenge in Pakistan and must be taken care of as critically as possible.
Despite the fact that smoking is bad for our health, it took decades to actually practice that smoking is injurious for health. Yet, we’re going through the same cycle again; overlooking the filth and serious repercussions attached to the porn culture in children.
In recent times, multiple cases have surfaced in Pakistan involving child abuse, child pornography, dark media and child trafficking. Some went down the drain, some were challenged and most of them were purposefully ignored by the authorities.
Apart from the cases filed in the police, hundreds and thousands of incidents occur yet go unnoticed and untold. Sometimes parents let the matter die because any charge or action would spark a conversation around their child which may hinder them in future, and that’s what does more damage to a society and creates long-term psychological problems.
Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live. – Norman Cousins
The dilemma doesn’t end here, in fact, a much bigger issue awaits ahead of all parents. Growing children and teenagers have access to unlimited web, gaming and music platforms where numerous ads pop up leading to porn sites and subscription. Once clicked, the person is in.
No matter how hard one counsels the child, curiosity takes them to places they shouldn’t be going and traps them for life. The most eye-opening fact is that there are apps, which look like normal calculators or jigsaw puzzles but they have actually hidden porn channels and if you raid over a child for a quick check, everything flashes out in a matter of a few seconds. None can dream of having a porn site under a jigsaw puzzle.
In discussion with a child psychologist, she claimed – an 11-year-old boy was her patient who was a porn addict. He was a humble kid with a respectable background until he started watching and practising porn. His first interaction was through a mobile phone and later, he found his ways to access porn at his own convenience.
“I caught my driver’s son watching nude women on his mobile. Upon scolding and a few threats, he blurted out – he got 50 porn clips in just PKR 100 from the Rainbow Center in Saddar”, says Saima Mazhar. She added, on inquiring further, the boy told her that his co-worker at a mechanic’s shop showed him and sent him a few clips initially and that was the beginning.
Child pornography in Pakistan is increasing and is purposefully infiltrated for dirty commercial gains. However, it gets ugly and threatening when children are explicitly exposed to and talked about. They unconsciously fall for it out of curiosity. The real challenge for parents is to monitor their children and offer them less free time for this junk. Parents must reassess their children’s schedule; put them into sports, workshops, clubs and activities so that they don’t settle for porn.
Here are some of the empirical facts on the issue:
Porn rewires the brain structure
Our brain size is 2% of our body weight but it consumes 20% of our energy, oxygen and resources of our body. A human brain constantly constructs and deconstructs neural pathways depending on its strength; the strongest neural pathway develops with ‘focused concentration’ and ‘satisfaction’ hence the path lasts for years. This is how porn settles with the most significant space in one’s brain. Thus, regular consumption of porn causes the brain to rewire and most likely shrinks in size. It triggers the brain to pump out chemicals and form new nerve pathways, leading to profound and lasting changes in the brain.
Porn is addictive
Just like any other habit linked to drugs, gaming or caffeine, porn is generally addictive too, especially when it is consumed and tried in the formative years. During the activity, a set of chemicals is released including DeltaFosB, known as a reward chemical. It is important for learning any kind of new skills, but it can also lead to addictive/compulsive behaviours especially in adolescents.
Excessive release of DeltaFosB can switch on genes that create long-term cravings, driving the user back for more. More importantly, it sticks around in the brain for weeks or months, which is why porn consumers may feel strong cravings for porn long after they’ve stopped watching.
Porn fuels anxiety, depression, and makes children isolated
The more appealing and satisfying pornography looks, the more depressing it is in reality. Children and young porn addicts develop a sense of guilt which restricts them to open to close people in their families. As an escape, they look for peace and comfort within themselves which means ‘more porn’ and yet the trap gets deeper and bigger.
Dr Gary Brooks, an experienced psychologist says, “The more one uses pornography, the lonelier one becomes.”
Porn directly connects to sex trafficking
As the child develops an interest in pornography and sex, they tend to explore more into this territory. With developed sense and resources, they look forward to experimenting their desires by getting physically involved and the best way to do is to look for young innocent prey. It gets threatening when they get into wrong hands and are rewarded on such activities by money, gifts and other alluring rewards.
Adults who suffered through an abusive childhood or developed interests in pornography lead to criminal activities later in life. Thus, they become fearless, unethical and violent adults.
Pornography in Children leads to violence
Porn addicts generally go into isolation and loneliness which leads them to be less empathetic and less prepared to accept refusals. In a survey of 1,500 young adults, 56% said their tastes in porn had become “increasingly extreme or deviant.” On further inquiry, they revealed that they had been watching porn since the age of 8 and 9.
Once the consumer is addicted to extreme and dangerous sex acts, things that were disgusting or morally shameful can start to seem normal, and more acceptable. One of the recent studies found that people exposed to significant amounts of porn thought violent sex is twice as good as compared to normal sex activities. And when a consumer accepts a behaviour is normal, they’re more likely to try it.
In Zainub’s case, the person was habitual of violently raping young girls and sending videos to the regular porn addicts. Recent statistics show that over 3500 child porn sites have been blocked since February 2018.
Are you aware of your child’s activities? Do you keep a keen watch on it? It’s time when parents must reassess their involvement and contribution in their children’s life other than material well-being. Pornography in children is increasing at a drastic rate in Pakistan. A strong collective approach is required to cut down this societal hazard.
The good news is, neural pathways work both ways. If porn pathways aren’t reinforced, they’ll eventually fade out of one’s memory. The same brain mechanisms that lay down neural pathways for porn can replace them with new learnings. If the time has come for you or someone you love to begin that healing process, seek instant help.
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