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Leke Babayomi: The Effect of Pornography on Children & Teenagers

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An incident, back in June 2014, left me shaken

I was leaving a private secondary school in Lagos after a visit. I walked past three female students, adolescents, maybe 15 or 16, all three of them standing and discussing. I figured they were SSS3 students who were concluding their WASSCE exams and were about to leave school. It was sometime around noon.

I overheard one of them, unaware I was within earshot, say, “Let’s go and watch porn.” When they turned and saw the shock on my face, they were embarrassed.

I’m certain watching porn has become a pastime of many minors. Also, pornography among the youth has crossed the boundary of being a male-related problem.

Childhood is a critical stage of life. During this period, it is necessary that kids maintain a certain level of innocence. A skewed exposure to sexuality at this time can alter the course of a child’s life. Children have a surplus reserve of energy, time and imagination. Pornography could serve as a hurtful distraction should it become their focus. It could lead them into sexual habits, addictions and passions that hamper growth and development in vital areas of life: mental, social, and spiritual.

I am tempted to explore how early sexual abuse and/or exposure has affected children, but I will remain focused on the porn addiction epidemic and its impact on minors.

According to the Nigerian law, a minor is anyone who has not attained the age of 18 years. Two key attitudes of minors make them susceptible to derailing due to porn: curiosity and poor judgment. Curiosity is a gift that’s intense in children and adolescents, and pushes them to learn their environment. Sexuality is a fascinating subject; it is able to draw the attention of first-timers to explore further.

Minors are known to be inept when it comes to making informed judgment. Wisdom and knowledge in humans increases with learning, either through instruction or experience. Since children are lacking in experience about life in general, they depend mostly on instruction to make wise decisions. Hence, they are likely to make wrong sexual choices where effective instruction is lacking. Poor judgment will make a child tow the path of curiosity, regardless of its risk.

Therefore, children and adolescents need to be protected from the unsafe exposure to sexuality and pornography. It is our responsibility to provide a safe space for them to develop physically, psychologically and socially. This should be seen as our own way to give back to a world that shielded us while we were growing up. Even if it didn’t provide the security we deserved, we can nip the evil cycle in the bud.

My experience at that secondary school made me value the work I was doing at the time with teenagers. It also underscored the necessity for stakeholders – parents, educators and leaders – to act quickly in order to prevent porn (from the internet and other sources) from perverting minors who use modern technology. The insidious evil called pornography must be stopped. Quoting Taryn Hodgson in Porndemic, “It is not a question of if you and your children will be exposed to pornography, but when.

We want to hear from you. What are your thoughts? How has porn affected children that you know? Did porn affect you as a child? What effects did it have on you as a minor? How can we protect our children from the negativity of this sexualized world? Your comments will be appreciated.

Photo Credit: Stockveres | Dreamstime.com

Leke Babayomi is a practicing registered engineer in the aerospace industry. He has won numerous career awards and prizes including the GTBank-Ayoku Liadi Prize for Academic Excellence. He is the author of The Silent Killer: Kill Porn Before it Kills You. He also blogs at https://lekebabayomi.wordpress.com/

16 Comments

  1. 9ja

    July 2, 2018 at 10:20 pm

    Yaaaawwwwnnnnn….. a country where children are routinely still being married off at age 13-16, people are busy bleating about porn among adolescents. Priorities folks!

    • The Real Oma

      July 2, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      I liked your comment because I see where you are coming from but I do not agree with it. That we have other problems doesn’t mean we cannot focus on this one, which is quite big globally. Very many young people have a porn addiction, which ironically also ruins their chances of a healthy sexual life. If societies focused on only one problem at a time, nothing will ever gets solved…
      My point? We can walk and chew gum at the same time ?

    • TheRealist

      July 5, 2018 at 5:49 pm

      @The Real Oma, 9ja talks about PRIORITIES and not uni-tasking.

      Nonetheless, it’s folks trying to do two things at once like texting and driving or even just walking while texting who end in car wrecks or in open gutters…lol! Accordingly, I would agree that it is a relative distraction in a country where 13-year-olds can legally be married off, folks would rather be PRIORITIZING porn to 16-year-olds.

  2. bills

    July 2, 2018 at 11:59 pm

    we should concentrate on making our country a good place to live in and not talking about things that has gone so wild what do you expect children’s of nowadays to do where a child of 12years old is been given a smart phone

  3. bills

    July 3, 2018 at 12:05 am

    we should try to work on our selves first

  4. Bamikale

    July 3, 2018 at 12:39 am

    I watched copious amounts of porn as a child. I still watch porn till today. Porn had absolutely zero effects on me. It did not speed up my sex life, I did not lose my virginity till I was 22; meanwhile, all my friends were on their 3/4 bodies. It did not make a sex-addict; if anything, I’ll say it improved my sex life because I was so familiar with my body and I knew exactly what I liked. I orgasm at the drop of a hat, and as a woman, I know this is a big deal. Honestly, all the criticism of porn I heard as a child gave me nothing more than a guilty conscience. Perhaps the only downside of porn was that I approached the bed room thinking that I had to perform all the theatrics that I saw pornstars perform so dirty talk was absolutely ridiculous and almost cringe worthy. But of course, like everything in life, it’s a learning process. I very quickly learned what worked and what didn’t. I just say all this because the stigma around watching porn is sooooo ridiculous. I completely understand being hesitant to expose children to sex at such a young age, but all the shouting that my parents did, and the beating that some of my friends collected when their parents caught them is so unnecessary abeg. I still do not know a single person that can say how porn negatively affected their lives, and I’m talking about actual people’s stories not hearsay. Anyhow sha, to each his own.

    • Goodwins

      July 3, 2018 at 4:12 pm

      Please do more than listen to others’ stories. Research (scholar.google.com) the negative consequences of porn-viewing. You’ll discover that the evidence shows pornography has many seriously negative consequences.

    • TheRealist

      July 5, 2018 at 8:00 pm

      @Goodwins, my counsel would be that you research who is PAYING for such research.

    • Cocoa

      July 3, 2018 at 5:57 pm

      I wish you could somehow be taken outside your body and allowed to view yourself from the outside looking in..because my dear…i can see the effect of porn just in your comment alone.

      I know you genuinely cant see it…but its there. I definitely see it…in fact its GLARING. I pray God lets you see it before its too late. Amen.

  5. Merry me

    July 3, 2018 at 4:05 am

    I started watching porn when I was about 8 because it wasn’t properly hidden by a family member. But when I turned 11 for some weird reason I just really hated anything sexual or pornographic then I turned 18 and my hormones kicked in (I think I watched 1 or 2)….but that was also very very short lived. I don’t know if it’s just God but I didn’t end up becoming overly sexual or a sex addict in fact I’m still a virgin (the type that is not secretly obsessed with sex) and I’m in my mid twenties. ?

  6. Mr peters

    July 3, 2018 at 7:54 am

    What do u expect where technology is every where

  7. Dr. J. J.

    July 3, 2018 at 12:24 pm

    One main area we can save the young ones in this porn issue is to regulate the way/sites where this porn is found on the internet. Although this may not be easy but if it is done, to a great extent the minors will be prevented in terms of easy access to pornography in as much as those who promote it do so for commercial purposes.

  8. Ola

    July 3, 2018 at 12:40 pm

    A group of teenagers watching porn is the least of our problems. It’d be weird if they didn’t. Addiction to anything is the problem, porn or food. At that age, with your raging hormones and the availability of these things is it really any surprise?. Don’t get hung up on your moral high horse, talk about real issues.. Maybe proper sex education.

  9. Goodwins

    July 3, 2018 at 4:10 pm

    Porn viewing as an adolescent can have serious consequences that last. Bamikale and Merry Me (previous commenters to this post) are the exception. Their early exposure to porn didn’t seem to cause lasting harm like it does with most. They can become addicted for life and suffer the negative consequences that go with it, including less ability to love deeply (how can you love deeply when you see others as sexual objects, not people) and form meaningful relationships (the joy of life). Better to prevent early access to porn and address porn habits and addictions immediately. One of the best ways to help someone overcome a porn habit is to provide them a copy of the book Power Over Pornography. It stands out as the most effective program out there. It also doesn’t require humiliating disclosure or willpower. I highly recommend it.

  10. Dayo

    July 5, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    While I think parents should do their best to keep porn from kids, watching porn does not make kids addicted to sex than watching war movies would make kids addicted to war.

  11. Ayo

    July 7, 2018 at 8:46 pm

    Pornography is a game of money. It has no good to pass to its viewers. Porn actors most times do not like what they do. It’s just for the money. You can understand this better from life stories of prostitutes.
    Firstly, if you view most of the actors/actresses well, they are not models for moral emulations. You cant advice anybody to be like them.
    Pornography passes a perverted message about sex. This perverted messages inturns gives fake expectations to the users.
    Secondly, porn promotes casual sex. Its not a movie where people get married and have sex, but random sex.
    Porn is not limited to sex between a man and a woman. It also shows animal sex, group sex, gays and lesbianism. This passes a wrong message to the viewer.
    Now looking at it from a spiritual eyes, it connects one to the spirits of the underworld. Most of the artists are possesed with demons. Many have sex in the dream as a result of this. I’ve watched Beyonce giving an interview saying before she comes on stage, something will take over her… It’s a spirit.
    Porn gives you the wrong time sex lasts. You watch porn of about one hour.. It’s not human.. Something has been done.. Its just like sports people being tested for drugs when they perform beyond human expectations. Most of the porn stars are usually on drugs..
    Porn is dangerous in marriage. It can steal the desire for ones partner.
    Porn causes masturbation most times. It further robbs the man of long lasting sex with his spouse.
    Porn is a tool of deceit to disflower a young girl. Many bad guys uses this cheaply. They just give them their phones and open it,..then after a while, touching begins..
    Porn is evil. It brings no good at all.

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