An IFOP study requested by « OPEN » (French Parents Observatory for Digital Education) was published on March 20, 2017. The study reports on adolescents’ exposure to pornography and its influence on sexual behavior” and the statistics are nothing short of alarming.
Last March 1st, the French Minister for Families, Laurence Rossignol, launched an Interministerial Plan to stop violence against children. A working meeting with Internet service providers was held on March 21, in an attempt to find a technical solution to protect children from pornography.
Although the law for the protection of minors specifies that pornographic images are banned for anyone under 18, it is not enforced: no means whatsoever block minors from connecting to pornographic internet sites. The majority of them are not even intentionally searching for pornography; rather it is pornography which pops up on their screens, while they are browsing the web. Compared to 2013, the percentage of 15-17 year-olds who consulted a pornographic web site increased sharply from 37% to 51%. Nine times out of ten, they were free web sites with most of the young people are using their smart phones to view the films.
Already in 2011, sexologist, Ysabel Blervaque declared: « Pornography is truly an addiction which will have very harmful effects later on for one’s sexuality. The youth do not make the difference between the virtual and the real world.”
For several years, Professor Israël Nisand has been warning the public authorities of the tragic effects of pornography on youth and accuses Internet service providers of giving free access to these images. On January 11, 2017, when interviewed by France Info television, he lamented: “We’ve abandoned our children’s education to pornography” and warns “some of our youth have become addicted to these images, spending up to 2-3 hours per day in front of them.”
On an international level, the silence on pornography has been recently been broken, when six celebrities publicly denounced its detrimental effects on adults as well as youth.
As emphasized recently by the Federation of Catholic Families in Europe (FAFCE) in a press release: “At a time when the European Parliament is about to adopt its report revising the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive, this is an opportunity to protect minors from being exposed to harmful content, and eventually help prevent them from becoming addicted to pornography.”