While the internet is a powerful tool for information, communication, education, innovation, economic growth etc, it has also made it easier for pedophiles to engage in online child pornography because they can now access and share pictures and videos of sexual activities involving children online.
Child pornography refers to pictures or videos of children in sexual activities. e.g. children that are half-naked, naked or having sex. It is also known as “child sexual abuse material”. It can be created through direct involvement of the child, sexual assault, computer or mobile phone.
The introduction of the internet has made child pornography more pervasive in today’s digital age. Perpetrators of child pornography, particularly pedophiles have joined several social media platforms to search for their victims, making the internet unsafe for children.
The internet is now a common place where people share and trade images of children involved in sexual activities.
Research by experts revealed that within one year, 45 million images were reported to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Another research revealed that in every minute, over 2 million pornographic materials are exchanged online and children are the most vulnerable.
Causes of Online Child Pornography
1. Lack of moral education: An adult or a child without moral education will never see anything wrong in such immoral act.
2. Lack of internet safety education: Internet safety education ensures proper use of the internet by both adults and children.
3. Compulsive use of the internet: The internet is loaded with a lot of pornographic materials which may lure users to online pornography when used excessively.
4. Indecent dressing among children: e.g. wearing of half nude dresses that expose the sensitive parts of the body.
5. Lack of Sex Education: When children have little or no knowledge about sex education they can ignorantly get involved in online child pornography or become victims.
Effects of Online Child Pornography
1. Victim’s image will be seen by almost all internet users.
2. Victims are exposed to sexual activities at the early stage of their lives. This may later lead to sex addiction or multiple sex partners.
3. It affects the life of victims psychologically.
4. In some cases, victims will not be able to further their education because of the stigma.
5. It encourages unsafe sexual practices.
Solution to Online Child Pornography
1. Parents should give their children moral education and sex from the early stages of their lives.
2. Parents and their children should be educated about internet safety.
3. All pornographic materials should be kept away from children. e.g. pictures or videos with sexual activities.
4. Moral and sex education should be included in the curriculum of primary and secondary schools.
5. Religious, government and non governmental organizations should always organise awareness programs on the dangers and lasting solutions to online child pornography in the society.
By Rotimi Onadipe
Email: [email protected]