Internet Porn and Its Impact on Kids

When we started CleanBrowsing we set out to create safe browsing experiences in our own homes. As parents to pre-teens, and like most kids, our kids were spending a tremendous amount of time online and we were afraid of what they might stumble on while surfing the web.

As technologists we didn’t want to hold them back from exploring the world that has been at the core of who we are, but we did want to put training wheels on the process. What we never planned, or accounted, for is the problem that is internet porn.

How big is the Porn business?

To put into perspective, conservative estimates have the industry pegged at $15Bn in revenue a year, with low estimates close to $6Bn and high estimated in excess of $95Bn (Source: QZ)

Calculating its proliferation on the web is hard, there are different studies conducted on the subject; many go back many years. Technologies growth is exponential on an annual basis, let alone over a period of years. A lot of the studies seem to be driven by specific ideologies, and it’s why looking at the economic impact can be more objective. Unfortunately, because the industry is predominantly private it’s next to impossible to really gauge the size of the industry.

While it’s difficult to gauge the economic scale of the industry, we do gain a much deeper appreciation for it’s size by looking at some of the stats provided by the most popular porn syndication – Pornhub:

2018 was an impressively big year for Pornhub and its users. Visits to Pornhub totaled 33.5 billion over the course of 2018, an increase of 5 billion visits over 2017. That equates to a daily average of 92 million visitors and at the time of this writing, Pornhub’s daily visits now exceed 100 million. To put that into perspective, that’s as if the combined populations of Canada, Poland and Australia all visited Pornhub every day!

Pornhub’s servers served up 30.3 billion searches, or 962 searches per second. To make sure there was always fresh content to satisfy those searches, Pornhub’s amateurs, models and content partners uploaded an incredible 4.79 million new videos, creating over 1 million hours of new content to enjoy on the site. If you were to start watching 2018’s videos after the Wright brother’s first flight in 1903, you would still be watching them today 115 years later! (2018 Usage Statistics)

The Affects on Kids

Most recently, while visiting with extended family I was having a conversation with my aunt in which she shared the following story:

Yes, the web is crazy. Just the other day your cousin (11 years old) came into my room shaken. He wouldn’t say anything, and I thought something serious had happened. He finally broke and told me that while he was online he came across a very weird site. On the site the guy was doing something to the girl. He couldn’t understand why he was doing it, he felt as if it was something he wasn’t supposed to be watching, but he couldn’t help himself. He couldn’t stop watching.

As we continued to chat, she told me that it took him a couple of days to come forward with this information. During that time he found himself continuously thinking about what he had seen. On one hand he felt that it was bad and against his religion, but on the other he was fascinated by it.

CovenantEyes performed a study and found the following:

  • – 57% of teens search out porn at least monthly.
  • – 51% of male students and 32% of female students first viewed porn before their teenage years.
  • – The first exposure to pornography among men is 12 years old, on average.
  • – 71% of teens hide online behavior from their parents.

Porn has always been there, but here at CleanBrowsing we can’t help but believe that today’s Porn is very different than we experienced in the 80’s. The proliferation and intensity of the videos, images and their accessibility scares us. Mainly because of our eye-opening experience with adults and their struggles with porn addiction. We can’t help but anecdotally recognize, while not fully researched, there is undoubtedly going to be some correlation between porn consumption and the psyche of our kids. We base this hypothesis on the number of adults we’re currently helping with their own online porn addictions; addictions that have become debilitating for many.

Creating a Safe Browsing Experience

As a parent, I found the experience my aunt described to be disturbing. While engaged doing something else on the web, something interrupted my cousins experience with something that brought him distress. Things like this shouldn’t happen, and it’s why we built CleanBrowsing; it’s impossible for us to shadow every action our kids take online, and protect them from the unsuspected, but we can use technology to help us get ahead of it.

If you share a similar belief and want to create a safe online experience in your home or organization, feel free to use our Free filters. We have Paid plans that provide more granularity in the controls and visibility on your network, but the Free plans are just as effective. If you have any questions, please feel free to email us support@cleanbrowsing.org.

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