Porn or pornographic content, the topic itself is a taboo in an open society but a very familiar and friendly one at midnights in the privacy of ones room. In July, 2015 Government of India banned the access to odd 800 porn websites. Soon there was a wide outrage from wide sections of people calling it a draconian move on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and also guests on news room discussions were found demanding their right to privacy and freedom. In just three days, the ban was lifted and all privacy and freedom to porn world was restored. That is the gravity of penetration of pornographic content into the Indian society today, we are talking about.
While government has justified impossibility in bringing down websites, porn as adult entertainment and role of parents to ensure child moderation. The statistics below, from 5th annual “2017 Year in Review” from Pornhub, one of the most popular porn websites, are eye boggling enough to put before us the question that Is the lack of stringent IT and cyber laws paving way for a destructive environment for the growing youth?
As per the statistics from Pornhub:
- India ranks 3rd in the world in terms of traffic to its website after USA and UK. With growing digital adoption and internet coverage, it wont be surprising if we surpass UK to stand 2nd in 2018 report release.
- While world’s largest proportion of viewership (32%) come from age group of 25-34, India gets its largest proportion of viewership (51%) from age group of 18-24, well above the world average of 29% in this age group. This clearly puts before us, the fact that Indian youth are getting victimized to the pornographic content.
- Due to the lack of controlled environment, most of the under age kids easily lie about their age as 18 with the click of a button. So, unofficially, the viewership starts way before the legal age and apart from teenagers, innocent kids are being victimized as well.
- Indian female viewers account for 30% of the total Indian porn viewers, while the world average is at 26%. Women compared to men are more reluctant to act in the absence of privacy, but the number exposes the fact that as students and bachelors the opportunity of privacy has a key role to play.
- 87% of the Indian porn viewers traffic to the porn content comes from mobile phones while the world average stands at 76%. With most viewers belonging to the 18-24 age group, early accessibility to smart phones, cheaper smart phones and data packs in the market and high-speed internet connectivity adds up to the traffic from the mobile devices
- Most of the Indian searches involves wife, college, aunty, bhabhi, teacher and audio sex categories. These searches are reflection of the viewer’s thoughts and societal outlook of women, neighbors, relations and teachers to say, outside of their time spent from porn world.
Like any other addiction, kids, at their innocence and teenagers, at a stage of sexual transformations and discovery are the major victims here as well. They very quickly get introduced to the content because of their association with wide number of other students, frequent interaction with internet in their educational life, freedom and privacy grants, and easy access to mobile phones and laptops at an early age which acts as a powerful catalyst to their introduction to these adult platforms.
Their introduction soon turns into an addiction because of the age and the pleasure they feel with the content. This directly affects their behavior and minds, which are in their moulding age and indirectly their educational career, which is at its prime stage. Many studies and observations have shown that the personality and thought process of viewers are strongly influenced by the pornographic content which gets reflected in the way they behave in the society. Anger, sexual carvings, women harassment, women objectification, depression, loneliness and rudeness all these are byproducts of their long exposure to the pornographic content. How different is it from drug addiction? How safe are your kids and most importantly how well do you know them?
Story of Harsha’s 8 years of battle with pornography addiction
Harsha’s story is an example of how any individual, even the well-behaved and well-mannered ones, and ones successful in their careers, could be suffering from addiction to pornographic content in isolation. What role does the society and environment surrounding them play in their addiction. His story clearly highlights one’s journey into the devious pit, highlighting conditions, symptoms of addiction, behavioral changes and responsibility of parents in monitoring their child to make sure their story don’t end up, like the one you are about to read.
Harsha’s introduction to world of pornography
“First time I ever heard of any such thing as pornographic content was in my Senior secondary class (10th class), as an overhearing of my friends discussion on the topic of websites. There was a sense of curiosity of what these guys were talking and the desire to experience how it feels like. The way all addictions starts and ends up being evil. This was also the time when we were having lessons on Reproduction which covered female and male sexual organs and how these organs would react at time of sexual arousal.
While all this was happening I was in a boarding school and had no access to internet. The thoughts subdued with time, till I got an access to computer on a vacation at my relative’s house. I was just playing around and in process I came across some website suggestions at URL address bar and just opened it. Surprised by what i saw, I felt scared!! and worried, if anyone had actually seen me. My heart was throbbing heavily, there was lot of fear and numbness in the brain but there was an unknown pleasure flowing in the body. The idea I carried from my friends discussion, lessons on reproduction and the fact that one of my relatives was also watching this content, intrigued me to explore a bit more and I went calm and reopened the webpage making sure no-one would watch me and started to browse through the content. The more I watched, the scariness was gone and the body was sexually arousing to the content. Puberty has played its own magical part, the sexual organs were starting to react and it felt great. A kind of sensation which one would want more and more.
Was this purely my mistake or of the environment of the society I was living in? Well, what I have come to realize that there can be an argument but not an answer.
There was no way out, I just got pulled more and more into its pit
Vacation continued and there was an unstoppable push to view the content once more, most of time I would thrash away the thoughts out of moral conscience, fear and confusion of what was I doing. But at every free time the thought would reappear again and again, conquering my senses, emotions and thoughts. Giving up, I started finding ways to view the content and the internet café at the end of my street came handy. I lied at home about project work and spent an hour at café. With no fear of relatives and guarded walls of café computer I got all the confidence of my privacy. That day, more than ever I felt the sexual arousal flowing in my body, there was fear and there was pleasure in my sexual organs reaction. My senses were no more in my control. I came home cycling as fast as I can and masturbated for the first time to great sexual relief.
A kind of sensation which one would want more and more.
Vacation came to an end and as I got busy with my school routine and all the pornographic thoughts got killed. But it was like a tumor in the brain hidden when indulged in various activities, and active with slightest of an opportunity.
Accessibility to the whole internet world opened up unimaginable possibilities for its horror
Post my time in residential school I pursued my Higher Secondary education from home. I used to travel to school in the mornings and tuition in the evenings. This opened up possibility to lie, miss classes or adjust my time to spend time in internet cafe’s. Whenever my sister came for vacation from her college I would take her laptop on pretension of playing games or watching moves and make myself a private surroundings keeping laptop screen hidden and hiding myself under a blanket, if it was winter season. Sometimes if possible closing the room.
Once, the café owner caught me browsing through the explicit content through his master screen. I stood terrified and fumbling over his threat to call police and my parents. I had to beg him with closed hands to get myself out of trouble. He agreed provided I pay him Rs. 10,000. Is this not how many people get trapped in sexual business, you get caught on mistake made in your innocence and others use that as blackmail and capitalize on you, it was money for me, it could have been anything one needs, sex, images, videos. I paid him Rs. 3,000 the next day by lying at home for need of money to pay some fees and avoided the remaining amount. I cursed myself and promised not to view the pornographic content ever again.
Then I got my own personal computer with internet at my home for imparting better education, providing me accessibility, privacy and safer environment
The fear of the incident which kept me away from internet cafe’s was gone and I started spending long time in closed doors of my room on pretension of late night studies when everybody were sleeping. The time on studying was almost down to zero, I was thinking of the content 24 hrs. a day now, searching for a slightest opportunity to view it. Whenever privacy to computer was not possible, I would borrow my father mobile phone before I got one for myself and take it bathroom to view the content there. This went for next 2 years of my stay at home. I was by now in deep addiction than I knew off.
My behavior was undergoing a broad transformation:
- I started to isolate myself from spending any little time with my parents or friends as this time was being used in viewing pornographic content
- I was starting to objectify women whenever I would see them and fantasize about them and their body
- I was constantly in anger
- My food intake has decreased there was no relishment of taste anymore
- I was depressed all the time, struggling inside, not performing well in my studies and unable to stop myself from viewing porn
- All my passion, extra circular activities and skills were gone, I would feel no interest in any of them at all
I was consumed by the pornographic content completely by now.
Out of home to Engineering college came with all the accessibility and privacy the Porn world needed to rest in my soul forever
My worst performance in Higher Secondary School, given how I spent my 2 years was obvious yet I was broken on my fall from a star kid to a nobody. Once I was a recipient of many laurels at national level and topper in academics and today I was afraid to face people. I blamed my addiction for my fate. I joined engineering with great difficulty and embarrassment but with a greater motivation to make for the loss of two years of my life and so I did in my next four years.
The pornographic activity was reduced to far extent, but the urge for the need of sexual arousal and relief was so dominating and it wouldn’t allow me to concentrate on anything, unless it gets what it need. It produced a perception in me that once it was finished with me, I could happily go back to my work. I would feel delighted and more productive post my pornographic activity. It was dominating my will and senses and consuming me and I was nothing but its slave. It continued for next 4 years, it was 6 of years by now.
My addiction continues with an alone fight with a hope and attempt to end it everyday, losing to it for past 2 years
Today, I work in one of the best companies at a good pay scale, that is for outsiders to judge me for a man with great intellect and ability but inside I suffer everyday alone at my loss of time, capability, passions and life goals. As a youth, growing up, there was no realization, its was all en-route to addiction, which dampened my capability, skills and performance in their life, otherwise I would have been in a better position than now, if not way better, but at least by 1%.
Harsha’s story is a reality of many children in our neighbourhood
Being a tabooed content in society it stays hidden within victims, leaving them alone in their suffering. Harsha could have lived a better life, only if,
- Harsha’s parents, who are closest to his living, have monitored his changing behavioral and performance patterns, talked with him and corrected him with their love and caring
- Harsha could have provided an environment where he could speak of his suffering without being judged
- There was responsible implementation of legal policy with a stringent verification process to restrict spreading of pornographic content within kids and teenagers which in turn spreads within the age group like a virus
- Raise the legal age to 21, giving the youth enough time to their maturity in deciding good and bad. This also happens to be legal of marriage for men
Government of India should set up a committee to study the effect of pornography in the Indian society and frame policies to curtail the Pornographic viewership among youth. It could take inspiration form various other countries:
- UK government has banned people from viewing pornographic content with non-conventional sexual acts. This bans sexual acts featuring: sexual activity without consent, sexual threats, role-playing, inflicting of pain, blackmail etc.
- UK government is also planning to enforcing a strict age verification process mandate to be followed by all adult sites. Powering the censorship to monitor and fine any ISPs and website failing to comply with the enforcement
- China has a complete censorship, requiring that all websites remove any pornographic material
- Philippines banned several porn websites as part of its society cleaning up campaign
- Pakistan also started banning websites on grounds of “taking remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan”
- Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand also has ban of pornography
- Arab nations already have strict firewall to filter the pornographic content
Now, when so many countries are realizing the evil effects of Pornography why is Government of India happy with dusting of all criticism by lifting the porn ban and leaving it to the adults, calling it their entertainment choice and parents to regulate their own kids. Why has Supreme court sidelined itself calling it matter of state vs public when it would have dealt so many cases which would have some association with pornographic content.