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Dr Gail Dines to talk in London

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Dr Gail Dines, London event, 18 July 2018, Today’s mainstream internet porn is free, hardcore, and harming our youth.

Teens today are bombarded with difficult and ever-changing sexual messages. As a result, it has never been more challenging to parent or mentor kids into healthy adulthood.

As their access to technology widens young people internalise sexualised messaging, which affects their behaviour, attitudes, expectations, brain development, and undermines their capacity to build healthy relationships.

The statistics are staggering.

Free porn sites get more visitors each month than Netflix, Amazon, and Twitter combined; Pornhub received 28.5 billion visits in 2017.

88 per cent of scenes in the most watched porn contain sexual, physical, and verbal violence against women.

Social media use is linked to increased rates of anxiety, depression, and poor sleep and the younger boys access porn, the more problems they have developing empathy, intimate relationships, and friendships with peers.

On average, boys first view hardcore porn when aged 11-13 years old via Snapchat, Instagram and free internet sites.

And a study by the American Psychological Association found that the more girls consume hypersexualised images, the more likely they are to be depressed, anxious, isolated, engage in risky sexual behaviour, and abuse drugs and alcohol

The problem?

Today’s mainstream internet porn is free, hardcore, and harming our youth.

And research has found that young people are increasingly exposed to porn – either intentionally or by accident – through Snapchat and Instagram, which are becoming gateways for increased hardcore porn use among adolescents.

Over forty years of empirical, peer-reviewed research has shown that viewing pornography has multiple effects on children, youth, and adults.

And researchers from multiple disciplines, using a wide range of methodologies, have shown that viewing pornography is associated with decreased capacity for empathy, connection and healthy relationship skills, lowered empathy for rape victims, lowered likelihood of intercepting a sexual assault, unhealthy body image, increased likelihood of engaging in sex at a younger age, increased likelihood of engaging in risky sexual behaviours, and increased erectile dysfunction among boys.

Studies also show that pornography also can lead to addictive use, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and loss of intimacy and control over one’s life.

And with respect to hypersexualised media and girls, over twenty years of research shows that the consequences of exposure to sexualised images contribute to girls’ self-sexualisation, which contributes to others objectifying them, and is correlated with higher self-surveillance and body shame.

Exposure to sexualising material continues to be related to feelings of shame, appearance anxiety, body dissatisfaction, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depressed mood.

There is also evidence that for some adolescents, exposure to sexualised media is associated with greater sexual activity and support for increased tolerance of sexual violence following objectifying media exposure.

This exposure has led to increased blaming of rape victims and decreased empathy for them.

The consistent empirical findings on the harms of hyper-sexualised media and pornography make it clear that we are dealing with a kind of stealth public health crisis that is eroding the fabric of our society, radically undermining the healthy development of children and youth, and contributing to increasing levels of sexual inequality, dysfunction, and violence.

This destroys intimate relationships, robs young people of the right to healthy development, and breaks down those connective bonds that allow individuals, especially children and youth, to thrive in families, schools, and communities.

Dr Gail Dines, a Professor Emerita of sociology and women’s studies at Wheelock College in Boston, has been researching and writing about the porn industry and sexual violence for well over twenty-five years.

Dr Dines is a recipient of the Myers Center Award for the Study of Human Rights in North America and author of numerous books and articles. Her book, Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality, has been translated into five languages.

She is also the CEO and President of the non-profit Culture Reframed, the first organisation to address pornography as the public health crisis of the digital age.

Culture Reframed is dedicated to building resilience and resistance in children and youth to the harms of a hypersexualised and pornified society, and has built an online ‘Program for Parents of Tweens’ that was launched in March 2018.

This programme, available at no cost from the Culture Reframed website, was developed over eighteen months by a multidisciplinary team of expert consultants drawn from the fields of paediatrics, developmental psychology, neuroscience, parent education, and adolescent therapy.

It is a 12-module programme that provides parents with the knowledge and skills needed to talk effectively with their children and other parents/caregivers about hyper-sexualisation, pornography, healthy relationships, intimacy, and connection.

Its components include:

Powerpoint-based lessons, interviews, and accessible talks by professionals on the nature and extent of hyper-sexualised media and pornography today, the harmful effects of pornography, healthy child and youth development, and healthy relationships and sexuality;

Video interviews and accessible talks by professionals that demonstrate age-appropriate language to communicate with children about the impact of pop culture and pornography on individual, family, and community health, modelling best practices for influencing positive attitudinal and behaviour change;

Resources to foster support among parents to access health services, and to facilitate systemic change; and

Twelve scripted conversations produced by seasoned parent educators on how to have “courageous conversations” that can be downloaded by people interested in educating their community. The presentations contain images, a script, and a “toolbox” that will act as a guide for giving successful and compelling presentations.

Dr Dines will be speaking at in London on 18 July on Raising Healthy Children in a Porn Culture: Challenges and Solutions. For tickets and further information, click here.

  1. Derrington says:

    Gail is wonderfully articulate and knowledgeable. Drop everything and go.

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