Pornography 'setting moral standard' for young people

Young people are growing to expect sex on demand and without consequences, a Wheaton professor has warned

William Struthers, Associate Professor of Psychology at Wheaton College, believes that pornography is reinforcing unrealistic and unhealthy views of sex among young people.

“Pornography is a violation of the childhood mind, creating expectations that anybody and everybody is willing to engage in sex on demand and that consent will always be freely given,” he said.

“Pornography is setting a moral standard for young people. They watch other people doing things and put themselves in their place.

"Internet pornography demonstrates the act but never the consequences. There are a variety of potential consequences that are never explored such as sexually transmitted diseases, pregnancy, and the impact of sexual exploitation.

"Without the opportunity to have what they have seen processed and explained to them, their expectations about what is appropriate and what is not goes unchallenged. Without input from a mature adult, sex is understood as a recreational commodity.”

Professor Struthers has given his support to the Safetynet campaign in the UK to force internet service providers (ISPs) to block pornography as a default setting.

The campaign, spearheaded by Premier Christian Media and the Safermedia campaign group, is asking for opt-in filters that would allow households to have access to adult material only if they specifically demand it.

Peter Kerridge, Premier chief executive, said today that ISPs had a duty to recognise the danger to young minds posed by pornography.

“As Professor Struthers explains so clearly, internet pornography teaches that sex is always available on demand and that it is a performance without consequence,” Mr Kerridge said.

“We are now calling upon this government to take decisive action to halt this blatant and relentless assault on young and impressionable minds.”

Mr Kerridge joined Safetynet campaigners and MPs last week as they delivered a petition to 10 Downing Street demanding action to clamp down on internet pornography.

He added: “An ‘opt-in’ block would in no way restrict adults from accessing websites by specific application but would help to protect generations of young people from online pornographers."