Porn addiction rising among youth
A leading sexual health agency has expressed distress over what it says is a mounting addiction to pornography in the 12 to 14 age group in Jamaica.
According to Chairman of the National Family Planning Board Dr Sandra Knight, the addiction is increasing and moreso among boys.
"It's going up yearly. Teenagers are addicted to pornography and we know from research that pornography inhibits the proper development of certain parts of a child's brain to consolidate healthy relationships as adults. So we are having even more problems there," Dr Knight told the Jamaica Observer Press Club last Thursday.
She said that tackling the issue was even more complex, given the fact that there was fierce competition from so many different influences.
"We are competing with other things that are happening but compete we must. In addition to us competing we have to reach out to the entertainment industry for example and say to them, look, what is it that you are doing? Look at the message you are putting out there," Dr Knight said.
She also registered disgust with the productions of some female members of the entertainment industry.
"I look at some of our female entertainers and I say look at how long and hard you have worked to be recognised and this is the explicit sexual crap you are putting out there. You have the opportunity to positively influence the young people in Jamaica and you are spewing crap," she said.
Commenting on a seeming trend whereby teens have been featured in locally made sexually explicit 'videos' making the rounds on social media, she said that the activities that are now being shown in videos "have been happening a long time".
"It's not now, it's just that they are being recorded because everybody's phone now has a camera. I cannot imagine why a father having sex with his daughter is putting that on camera," she said in reference to one of the most recent incidents where a father was reportedly filmed frolicking with his daughter and other underaged girls.
"I am a little alarmed at how person's ability to discern between a right decision and a wrong decision is so diminished. It's troubling, it's very troubling," Dr Knight said.
In the meantime she appealed to young women who feature prominently in these 'videos', often while clad in their school uniforms, to think twice.
"These young girls have more power than they think. They have a lot more power to say no than they think and if they say no, it can't happen, in most instances unless they are forced to. If you say no and that person 'likes you', they will wait if they are attracted enough. You have to start saying no and realise that you are putting yourself in a position that can affect the rest of your life if you do not begin to make sensible decisions that can make your life better and not worst,"
Addressing the issue Marion Scott, acting director of Outreach and Prevention with the Board, said that it has brought parenting to
"This is where parenting comes in, parents are not talking to their children about sex. They think if they don't talk about it, it won't happen, which is the complete opposite. If you don't talk about it, they are curious, they will get the information somewhere and it is often inappropriate or incorrect information from the wrong source. So we definitely have to work on the parents and the dialogue," she said, noting that sex is taboo in many households.
"That incident also makes you question the level of acceptability of incest. That is pretty concerning. I think we definitely need to explore the issues around incest," Sania Sutherland, executive director at the board, said in referring to the video.