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Toddlers and porn: shit happens?

Greg Harman

On the one hand, the release of Norton’s OnlineFamily rankings of the most popular searches by kids during 2009 shows the (developing) sexes aren’t so different. Outties plugged “sex” into the search window almost as much as the innies. The young ladies added Taylor Swift to top searches like YouTube, Google, and Facebook before pecking in s-e-x.

The boys, followed “sex” with “porn,” which is like sex, we’re told, except with props, an audience, and paychecks. Girls sought porn much less frequently, only after exhausting 23 other options. There’s Lady Gaga, Miley, and the Webkinz to contend with, after all.

Most surprising, “porn” remained the fourth most popular search among the 7 and younger set.

Facing this statistic, I in some ways feel like our universally beloved musical critic Jeremy Martin back in those dark days he was fretting over musicians advocating battering and killing women (and men, for that matter). Was he, in his words at the time, “too old for this shit?” or is that shit just plain fucked up? (Lucky for you, I’m not on the  chords beat and you don’t have to contend with my growing disgust with colliding pimp and death cultures.)

It’s not that I’m afraid of the spread of sexual knowledge, just of porn — a medium that so quickly vaults our recently outdated taboos to portray gratification via the humiliation, forced control, and violence against others — serving as that educator. Sex talks should happen at home and sexual health and birth control a must in a public school education, especially in a city like San Antonio, where teen pregnancy is perhaps one of our biggest obstacles to pulling ourselves out of poverty.

The unanswered question in my mind is how these five-year-olds know the world “porn” to begin with. Older demographics searching skin online used the word sex. Have we become that saturated by cumshots, glory holes, and latex that porn is now the talk of the romper room? Is it a blip? An aberration? Data planted by Norton’s to sell more “family-friendly” filters? I don’t know.

While I reject the cruel morality of Dr. Laura and her talk-radio clones, I’m still backing a longshot — apparently my whole point in this world wracked by gender injustice, new colonialism, and rampant environmental racism. So, as a champion of seemingly hopeless causes, I find myself hoping nonetheless that our kids (and I’m of the age where I can claim one of my own) will still be able to grow up and into healthy sexual identities despite it all.

In this ruthless world —where 13 is the average age children are lured into prostitution and middle- and high-school-age boys are used to fish for potential prey — I know those witnessing porn’s cultural frenzy could use a little encouragement.

Encouragement and sex ed. That’s all I got. I should be upbraided and non-sensually abused for not kicking this shit to Dear Uncle Mat in the first place.

Posted by gharman on 12/23/2009 7:24:09 PM
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