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Effects of Child Pornography

  • Last Updated : 21 Aug, 2021

Nowadays, people depend upon the internet for different purposes like information, communication, shopping, etc. similarly children are also connected with the internet for educational purposes or for entertainment. As the internet offers many good things, at the same time it is a big source of crime. There are so many online crimes happening every day, like phishing, cyberbullying, hacking, etc. among all of these crimes child pornography is the most traumatic and heinous crime. Just for the sake of their personal benefits or desire, some people destroy the whole life of a child/children. Child Pornography is a branch of pornography that exploits children who are under the age of 18 years using photos, videos, audio, computer-generated content, etc.  Or the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012, defines child pornography as “any visual depiction of sexually explicit conduct involving a child which includes photographs, videos, digital or computer-generated image indistinguishable from an actual child and an image created, adapted or modified but appears to depict a child.”

It is not only a legal issue but also a moral issue because it has the ability to change a child’s perception of humanity and it is victimization that never ends because the images are placed on the internet which will never be fully erased or recovered. Images continue to pass from one person to another person. This will affect the present and future of the victim. It also leads to other crimes like sex tourism, abuse, etc.

Charging the convict with this crime: Most of the time, the children know the pornographers, and their actions are coerced through grooming and other pressures. There are two kinds of convicts explained as follows:

  1. Innocent ones: These kinds of people come across child pornographic content by mistake. One cant and must not convict such people for this thing. Innocence can be proved by monitoring his/her search history.
  2. Intentional ones: These kinds of people come across child pornographic content intentionally. They are the real criminals and must be convicted.

POCSO Act 2012: It is known as the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012. It is a law enforced by the Indian government against child abuse, harassment, pornography, etc. This bill states that those people who are using children for sexual purposes will be prosecuted with up to five years imprisonment and fine. The punishment can be increased up to seven-year and the fine can also increase. And for those people who committed penetrative sexual assaults against a child whose age is under 16, then the criminal would be punished with imprisonment for up to 20 years, or, can be sentenced to death.  

After-effects of child pornography

Child Pornography influences a child’s mindset in a negative manner and causes irreparable damage to them. It causes long term and short term damage to the victim and they are:

  • It causes physical injuries, pain, sexual transmission diseases, etc.
  • It creates a psychological impact on children which causes anger, depression, anxiety, etc. Also, break them mentally and emotionally. 
  • It causes sexual addiction.
  • It influences a young person’s expectations about sex in a negative manner.
  • Pornography is generally used by pedophile to stronger the belief in gender sterotype, especially for males. So, those people who are regularly/frequently watching will treat women like sex objects, which leads to sexual violence and violence against women.
  • Feelings of worthlessness and low self-esteem.
  • Even the victim tries to kill himself or herself. So, always support and accept child abuse survivors.

How does a child fall prey to child pornography?

Child pornography is a context where children don’t go through the sexual content knowingly, the child is pressurised by the pornographer to be involved in these things. The following point shows how a child is manipulated:

  • Bribing: It is the easiest and common method. This includes giving a monetary gift, money to the kid so as to lure him into this vulgar trap.
  • Sexualized games and intimacy building: The pedophile intentionally talks about sex to the child or plays such games to build further intimacy with the kid.
  • Threats and blackmail: This is also a commonly used method. Here, the criminal uses force and threats to frighten the child and forcefully exploit him/her.
  • Flattery: This involves giving constant attention and praise to the child to win his/her trust. So that the child can easily fall into their trap.
  • Desensitization: They continuously showing explicit content to the child due to which normalizes the kid thinking about sex and drives him/her into the trap.
  • Grooming: Here a person(also known as groomers) uses parent’s profiles to reach out to the children and start building an emotional connection with the child to gain their trust and, after gaining their trust, they extract private information and blackmail them to perform sexual activity. The groomers can be parent’s friends, relatives, or someone known.
  • Revenge Pornography: In this act, the user satisfies his anger and revenge for a broken relationship through publicizing false, sexually provocative portrayal of his/her victim, by misusing the information that he may have known naturally and that he may have stored on his personal computer, or may have been conveyed to his electronic device by the victim herself, or may have been stored in the device with the consent of the victim herself; and which may essentially have been done to defame the victim. The worst affected age group of revenge porn is 14-18 years. Revenge pornography can lead to students dropping out of school and become a victim of depression.

Challenges of child pornography

Child pornographic contents are mushrooming at an exponential rate. There is a huge number of sites having such content. This poses a huge challenge among us to eradicate child pornography at a go. Below are some challenges listed:

  1. A single approach won’t be efficient in handling a wide range of child groups to protect them against such abuses. A kid is treated differently, an adolescent is treated differently, etc.
  2. The lack of proper sex education is also a major reason behind the inability to eradicate this crime.
  3. It’s very difficult for IT professionals to track and monitor such content on a regular basis on this huge internet.
  4. Obscene contents are available on the internet, which further adversity this.
  5. Sufficient anti-child pornography laws exist in many nations, but enforcement of such laws is very weak.
  6. Sometimes the family of the victim does not cooperate with police in identifying the hotspots of child pornography in society because of their reputation or sometimes they were blackmailed by the criminal.

How to curb child pornography?

Child pornography is a crime that must be curbed at an early stage before it takes a bigger shape. There are several steps that individuals, governments, parents, and children can take to curb child pornography. The following are the steps listed below:

  • Educate young children about the internet and how to use the internet safely.
  • Before downloading any game, app, site, etc., that will be used by children, pay attention to their features, like end-to-end encryption, video calls, messages, user anonymity, etc. And always download apps, games, etc., from a trusted source.
  • Parents should check time to time the activities of their children on phones, laptops, tablets, etc. And supervise them on how to safely upload and download data on the internet.
  • In your device(like mobile, laptops, etc.) set the parental lock and also adjust the privacy setting.
  • Limit the use of phones, tablets, computers, etc. for some certain time.
  • Tell your children to not share their personal information, photos, videos, etc., on the internet publically or to any unknown person whom they or their family don’t know.
  • Educating kids about such abuses is necessary as awareness is needed among children to curb such crimes.
  • Encourage children to discuss their personal issues with their parents, friends, guardians, or any trusted person. So that if any child gets engaged in such type of activity, then their family must rescue them on time.
  • If such type of crime happens, then immediately file a complaint against that criminal in your nearby police station. So that the criminal gets caught on time and saves the life of your and other children.
  • There must be a ban on pornographic sites and ISPs must be responsible for this.
  • Strict actions ought to be taken against such criminals to curb this crime, which also includes following the laws strictly.

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