From ‘Half of teens here exposed to pornography: Survey’, 6 Sept 2014, article by Janice Tai, ST
ONE in two teenagers here has watched or read sexually explicit materials, a poll has found, with some as young as seven when they were first exposed to it. And one in three admitted viewing pornography in the past year, whether intentional or accidental. The first large-scale survey here to examine children’s exposure to pornography, which polled 836 students aged 13 to 15, was conducted by Touch Cyber Wellness, the main agency that gives online safety talks in schools here.
Experts say the findings are worrying as such content affects young people’s attitudes and behaviour towards love and sex, and may lead to sexual crimes. Dr Munidasa Winslow, an addictions specialist in private practice, called the figures “expectedly horrendous”.
…In the Touch survey, 5 per cent of the teens who had seen porn encountered it first in lower primary levels – at age nine or younger. They were not asked how often they accessed this subsequently. Pornography was defined in the study as images or content, such as anime and erotic novels, that depicted naked people or people having sex.
Touch Cyber Wellness is part of the non-profit charity hydra that is the Touch Community Services group, which other than ‘touching’ the lives of the needy, also occasionally engages in surveys to justify why society is in a state of wretchedness and needs their guidance. Last year, they published a divorce survey which came to the staggering conclusion that the richer you are, the more likely that you’re cheat on your spouse, predictably after 5 years of marriage. If you knew who’s helming the Touch group, it becomes obvious that this survey was designed from a high moral ground with the intention of demonising porn as a disturbing ‘addiction’ and precursor for molest and rape. That man is pastor Lawrence Khong.
But the truth is this statistic is hardly even SURPRISING to begin with, not to mention ‘horrendous’. Some years ago, it was reported that SEXTING was already on the rise among not just teens, but mature adults as well. In 2009, one in 10 teens were found to engage in unprotected sex, with someone pulling the same accusation of porn being a bad example of ‘sex education’. Before we had smartphones, teens (half of over 200 polled to be exact) were already indulging in cybersex, sado-masochism and bestiality from the newfound toy that was the INTERNET (Teens at risk from porn sites, chatroom overtures, 20 Oct 2000, ST). It’s easy to blame technology but people have been watching porn even before phone chatlines, video cassette tapes or even paper was invented, as anyone who has visited the pottery section of a sex museum would know.
The problem with this survey is that they have hastily linked ‘exposure to porn’ to ‘addiction’, and to get a addiction specialist involved in a study that doesn’t clinically diagnose these teens as ‘porn-addicted’ is surely exaggerating the actual situation, which is kids STUMBLING into porn, or surfing out of curiosity. No mention is made if they had locked themselves at home watching it all day, masturbated in public, went around stealing bras and panties to sniff, or had their grades affected because of too much masturbation or panty-sniffing. Yet, Touch already made the flimsy association between porn exposure and ‘sex crimes’, without any data to suggest that these crimes have been rising at all, or examining the flipside that most kids who watch porn, even on a DAILY BASIS, don’t go around looking for office ladies to rub their crotch against on the MRT, like those playing violent video games going around stabbing random people on the streets. Maybe someone should conduct a survey of how many teens are being exposed to Christian evangelism in schools, and then make some wild hypothesis that being exposed to Christianity leads to militant religiosity or makes you a poorer kid because all your pocket money goes into funding some pastor’s wife’s singing career. At least the second parameter can be objectively measured.
They didn’t even define ‘pornography’ the way most adults understand it. By their definition, 50 Shades of Grey is porn (erotic novel), and so is a nude Renaissance painting (NAKED PEOPLE). As one judge famously said about porn, ‘I know it when I see it’. I’m not sure if the Touch folks, being chaste and holy and all, actually ‘know’ what their subjects were actually seeing in the first place. Innocent children are always an easy target if your mission in life is to ban porn forever. What about working adults? Don’t THEY need to be protected from porn too, hopefully we may see a drop in public office sex scandals, online vice rings and underage sex, no?
I believe there are more important, objective issues to worry about than porn, like juvenile smoking and drinking leading to rowdiness, truancy and damaged livers, or tuition and enrichment classes leading to stress, depression and eventually suicide. Just that it doesn’t seem to be in Touch, or Khong’s, moral interests to embark on such research instead. For a survey about teens getting hard from porn, its premise and conclusion is all rather limp in my opinion.