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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Internet porn should be better regulated by the government

    America’s favorite “X-Files” star, David Duchovny, checked himself into rehab for sex addiction in 2008. Duchovny’s breaking point came after wrapping the second season of “Californication,” his series on Showtime, in which he plays a sex-addicted writer.

    Many assume his fictional role began to pervade his reality. Perhaps his addiction was festering long before the show, and playing his character was a trigger. Regardless of why or how it happened, it’s hard to deny the power of sex and online pornography addiction.

    Internet porn dependency is an overlooked problem affecting millions of people, from children to adults. Imagine your younger siblings or children watching online porn when they’re in elementary school. If it’s disturbing to think of children watching online porn, then what’s the justification for adults watching it? Do the effects of porn automatically lessen when you turn 18 years old? Researchers say they don’t.

    In a 2008 study published in the American Behavioral Scientist, researchers indentified online pornography as a major sign for both sex addiction and Internet sex addiction. Other symptoms of online sex addiction include spending multiple hours in sex chat rooms, hiding online interactions from significant others and decreased satisfaction from real-life sexual partners, preferring online pornography over the hands-on experience.

    The study also points out that the Internet is accessible to almost anyone at any age, meaning it doesn’t discriminate when it sends racy spam emails — minors receive them too. Free pornography websites enable this disturbing reality, which should be a primary motive to get these sites regulated or shut down.

    Last week, the Daily Wildcat published an article on porn addiction at the UA. The article took readers through a student’s battle with porn addiction and how he overcame it. He was 10 years old when he first viewed explicit photos through an email.

    Porn was once limited to magazines and videos, stored behind curtains in tiny, dark adult shops. This setup made it easier to monitor the purchase and viewing of porn, decreasing the likelihood of porn ending up in the hands or under the mattresses of minors. But with the rise of the Internet, porn became free and widely accessible.

    The Daily Wildcat article also noted a 2008 study conducted by a research group at Brigham Young University. The study stated that out of college-aged adults, 87 percent of men and 31 percent of women watch pornography.

    If the study holds true, along with the statistics from the UA Fact Book, then out of the 14,641 undergraduate men at the UA, approximately 12,738 watch porn. And out of the 15,951 undergraduate women, roughly 4,945 also view porn.

    Potentially more than 17,000 UA undergraduates might argue that watching porn isn’t going to harm anything. They’ll say it’s natural, stress-relieving or a common practice among their peers.

    However, when casually viewing porn turns into continuously viewing porn, then you’re looking at the onset of a major problem. When porn begins to negatively impact your mental, physical and social health, then you have a major problem.

    This is all common sense. But the existence of free pornography websites is senseless.

    It’s naive to think pornography can be eradicated, especially on the Internet. The industry is too popular and too profitable. The government can, however, crack down on sites without filters or financial barriers that allow minors to access them instantaneously.

    As for the UA, porn isn’t illegal in Arizona, but viewing it in public is. The UA Main Library should call the police immediately if someone is viewing porn in the library, instead of only administering a warning.

    Precautions can be taken and limits can be set, but only if the authorities are willing to take the time to do so.

    — Kelly Hultgren is a junior studying journalism and communication. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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