‘Raised on Porn’ Documentary Details How Porn Ruins Children’s Lives and Their Relationships

By Stephanie Samsel | June 21, 2022 | 11:25am EDT
(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)
(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)

(CNS News) -- There is a reason that most people squirm at the thought of having conversations about sex, especially if those conversations are with adolescents. However, if children’s innocence and their relationships are to be preserved, one issue demands attention: their unfettered access to pornography.

On June 13, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) and Exodus Cry co-hosted a “Toxic Online Criminality” symposium on Capitol Hill to discuss the ever-growing overlap between child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, and the pornography industry.

One legal journal reported in 2020 that children are generally first exposed to pornography at 11 years old.

(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)
(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)

Following a viewing of the documentary Raised on Porn: The New Sex Ed, panelists who consisted of sexual exploitation survivors, experts, lawyers, and even a porn actor-turned-pastor discussed the need to protect kids from readily available pornography.

Their findings debunked the cultural perception of pornography as harmless.

According to a 2019 study, 10th-grade boys exposed to violent pornography were two to three times more likely to commit sexual violence against a dating partner.

Additionally, 14- to 19-year-old girls who watch porn are more likely to be victims of sexual harassment or sexual assault, a NCOSE study reports.

Texas neurosurgeon Dr. Donald Hilton explained in the film why a child’s exposure to pornography is disruptive to their life and leads to addiction. 

 

He said sexual orgasm causes the same 200% spike of dopamine -- the main chemical linked to our brain’s reward system -- as morphine.

Children and teenagers do not have developed frontal areas of the brain that are responsible for “competing” with the “dopaminergic drive” for pleasure, so they succumb to their desires, he added.

Hilton explained, “You have an eight-year-old with this undeveloped brain who doesn’t really have the ability to weigh or to judge what they’re seeing – whether it’s harmful or not harmful, what will the result be if they participate in this activity – they don’t even know what it is.”

“When we flood the child’s brain with these powerful, sexual images that provide this physical, emotional overload, the child is powerless. It’s absolutely impossible for them to resist this kind of stimulus.”

As if children watching porn is not concerning enough, websites cannot be sued for allowing users to post child sexual abuse material (CSAM), thanks to Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act.

(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)
(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)

In 2018, former President Donal Trump signed into law the “Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act” (FOSTA) to make sex trafficking and prostitution exceptions to Section 230.

However, online platforms are still not liable for allowing CSAM to circulate.

Helen Taylor, panelist and Vice President of Impact at Exodus Cry, an organization committed to ending sex trafficking, shared with CNS News that law enforcement is “drowning” in CSAM cases.

She advocated for lawmakers to require age verification from users uploading pornographic content online, as well as from actors on adult sites.

“When [CSAM] is easily found on the internet like the situations we are currently dealing with, on mainstream porn websites, law enforcement are drowning in cases and have stated to me that if every agent in the country was working on this, they would still not have enough manpower to eliminate all CSAM right now," she told CNS News in an email.  "We need better laws that prevent such uploads and hold Big Tech and Big Porn accountable for their negligence, incentivizing them to properly verify age and consent."

(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)
(Screenshot, Raised on Porn, Magic Lantern Pictures)

This call for online age verification comes as other nations, such as the United Kingdom, consider the same policy.

The U.K. tried to implement age checks in its Online Safety Bill in 2019 but was met with strong criticism that doing so would be an invasion of privacy.

One bill in the U.S. aims to remove online platforms’ liability protections for CSAM.

According to Dani Pinter, senior legal counsel for NCOSE, the EARN IT Act of 2022 will “massively curb [CSAM] content” on platforms by having them face liability.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) sponsored the bill, which creates a national commission aimed to “develop best practices for interactive computer services providers (e.g., Facebook and Twitter) to prevent, reduce, and respond to the online sexual exploitation of children.”

  (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The bill was introduced in the Senate in January and is awaiting further action.

“We do not allow rape, sexual abuse, or child sexual abuse to occur in the physical world. We cannot allow it to flourish online, and for these major companies to profit from it,” Pinter said during the symposium. 

“It’s time to stop prioritizing the profits of massive corporations at the expense of the lives and dignities of countless people, including children.”

To watch Raised on Porn and learn more about NCOSE, click here

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