Fine Gael Dún Laoghaire TD, Mary Mitchell O’ Connor, has said that she believes the increasingly easy access to internet porn could be having an unhealthy effect on young people’s sexual behaviour and their views on sexuality.
“There has been an exponential increase in the availability of porn on the internet in the last number of years. It is frighteningly easy for people to access hard core pornographic images online at no cost. Unfortunately many of our young people are accessing this information.
“The annual report of the CARI Foundation, which provides assistance to children affected by sexual abuse, reports a 57% increase in calls to the organisation’s helpline relating to increased sexual behaviour in children of 12 years and younger.
“I, for one, am not comfortable with how porn is informing young people about how to approach sex, sexuality and sexual relationships. The depiction of sex on many of these websites is misrepresentative and extremely concerning and can include the humiliation of women and the threat of or actual depictions of violence.
“It is very worrying that porn is often depicted in popular culture as being a light hearted matter. For example, it is not uncommon to see young girls wearing clothes depicting the Playboy image. While I accept that Playboy is not hardcore porn, I find it insidious that this type of product should be normalised in the minds of young people.
“Video games are also playing a worrying role in informing young people’s attitudes towards sex. One Japanese video game involves the sexual assault and rape of a female victim. This serves to remind us that while technology is a wonderful thing, it can be dangerous and detrimental and needs to be monitored vigilantly by parents.”