X Factor furore is just one example of mass media’s sexualisation of UK society

Charity Safermedia is deeply concerned, but hardly surprised, that X Factor programme makers were confident that ‘soft porn’ was appropriate for the show, well before the watershed. There can be no editorial justification for such material on a family show, and it does not meet with the ‘generally accepted standards’ of TV regulator Ofcom. However it is very much in line with general media trends in Britain now, i.e. to make pornography mainstream.

This worrying development has been noted by David Cameron, who fears we are sleep walking into a society where ‘porn is the norm’, and the Home Office, who recently commissioned a report on ‘The Sexualisation of Young People’. The Report’s findings were clear: not only is there a growing prevalence of sexualised images (‘soft porn’) in magazines, television, mobile phones and computer games, and on the internet, but they are also having a damaging effect on our children.

It is not just children who are being damaged by pornography. At our recent Safermedia Conference in Parliament on ‘The Harm that Pornography Does’ we heard from healthcare experts about an explosion of porn-related problems in all age groups over the last decade, many linked with internet porn (see our website for details).

Via the internet, unprecedented amounts of extremely perverse, degrading and violent material are now readily available, a far cry from the material that was viewed even five years ago.*

This hugely successful product ‘functions as a teacher, permission-giver, and a trigger of … negative (sexual) behaviours and attitudes’ (M. Layden, Sexual Trauma and Psychological Program, University of Pennsylvania).

It is linked with the objectification of women and their abuse, relational problems in both sexes, anti-social behaviour and rape. Also more and more consumers are being trapped in compulsive use of online porn, Christians included.**

The media industry’s undeniably successful promotion of pornography in recent decades is a challenge to every adult, but especially to Christians, who believe in a God-given spiritual dimension to sex.

So do we accept porn as harmless, ‘artistic’, as a human right even, or do we see porn as the arch enemy of committed, healthy and joyful sex, and take up arms against it? There is now overwhelming scientific evidence of the latter, whether you are a believer or not.

Arguments about freedom of expression are very outdated, and this is now a public health issue. But the media will not accept this easily, nor will the Government who fear the image-makers, and favour big business in so many areas of national life. The good news is that by the power of God, Christians can fight the battle that is necessary.

Please help Safermedia raise awareness:

• write a brief complaint about X Factor to Ofcom (contact@ofcom.org.uk), copied to ITV (viewerservices@itv.com), and to your MP (www.writetothem.com). Soft-core images are gateway porn to hard-core material. Far stronger regulation is necessary by Ofcom.
• politely, but firmly, oppose porn wherever you encounter it, and demand government regulation of the internet.
• support us in prayer and with finance
• get in touch and join our mailing list

*A brief clinical description of current mainstream pornography can be requested by email from Safermedia.
** Help for pornography addiction is available at www.living-waters-uk.com

Pippa Smith and Miranda Suit are Co Chairmen of Safermedia, a charity seeking to reduce the harmful effects of the media on our children, families and society www.safermedia.org.uk