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Battling porn, a new drug!

Md Kawser Mamun | Published: May 17, 2019 21:05:43


Bangladesh is one of the developing nations in the modern world. It has become an independent nation more than five decades ago. During this period the country has been engaged in efforts to attain development and growth in various areas such as building infrastructure, production of food grains, science, technology and education. The life expectancy has increased and many diseases have been under control. However, there are still many areas in which it is experiencing a variety of problems. Some of the problems have their roots in our colonial past where others are related to demographic changes, socio-political conditions and cultural processes.

If presently any intensive survey is conducted to identify or to list which are the problems the teens of this generation in particular and the young adults in general, irrespective of their religion, culture, and country, are suffering from, pornography will be the top amongst all other social problems.  Internet is undoubtedly a blessing for the mankind, to say the least, the past days' imagination has already turned into a reality with the blessing of internet-led science. That said, just like a coin everything has two sides-good and bad.  Where one can avail of all good things from internet while in contrast it is very easy to get stuck into one of the dark and ugly worlds of this civilization with just a click to pornography.

In modern terminology pornography is printed or visual material containing the explicit description or display of sexual organs or activity, intended to stimulate sexual excitement. Although scientists differ on the consequences of pornographic addiction, many countries have already prohibited it in order to save peoples from being trapped into the porno world. Taking the severity of pornography problem into consideration, in November 2018 the apex court of Bangladesh asked the concerned authority to block all the pornography websites accessible from Bangladesh for six months. The court's order came when an NGO named 'Manusher Jonno Foundation' (MJF) placed the issue before the court. According to a survey conducted by MJF, nearly 77 per cent school-going students of Dhaka watch porn. 

At present pornographic contents are almost everywhere-websites, hidden on blogs, even on social media as stated by 'Internet Safety 101', an online group. Perhaps this is the reason why this black industry is growing so fast and why people easily fall victim to it. According to Porn Stats 2018 edition, 28,258 users are watching pornography every second and 1 in 5 mobile searches is for pornography. One may ask a question as to why people choose this destructive path. The answer is the lack of availability of healthy entertainment coupled with lack of the time-befitting programmes on mass media.

Josh McDowell, an American articulate speaker, author, and active humanitarian, says in his study on 'Porn Phenomena' that research tells of most horrifying fact about porn and it is that it destroys brain, the most precious asset of the human kind. Furthermore, it causes the regular porn user's brain less connected, less active, and even smaller in some areas. According to his findings, pornography is being integrated into mainstream which he terms as "Teens and young have a cavalier attitude toward porn." He says "When they talk about pornography with friends, 90% of teens, and 96% of young adults say they do so in a neutral, accepting, or encouraging way. Only one in 20 young adults and one in 10 teens say their friends think viewing pornography is a bad thing." This survey is conducted on American teens, young adults but the findings are quite evident elsewhere around the world, though.

It is quite bewildering that porno is getting less attention comparing to any other drugs from the perspective of impact on human brain while it releases same Dopamine and Delta FosB that other drugs do which are regarded as the main reasons for addiction.  So, time has come to address it as a new drug and thereby ensure taking necessary actions in order to stop it.   

Pornography is albeit a public health of epic proportions. The threat that this poses to teens and young adults cannot be put into words. Unfortunately, despite the nature of the problem has not been so complex, it could have been stopped permanently at once but the state did not go for it as stated by telecom minister Mostafa Jabbar in a television interview back in early 2019.

A whopping 77 per cent school-going students are regular porn users. And what's more, porno is made to seem pretty normal amongst teens and young adults. But the fact that such a large percentage of teens are trapped into porno points to the precariousness of moral decadence as well as it endorses the state failure to ensure an effective monitoring mechanism that could have prevented teens and young adults from being addicted to this suicidal habit. This has clearly gone on for so long that the problem has now snowballed. Abdullah Al Mamun, manager of MJF's Child Safety Programme, opined that several countries of the world have addressed the issue seriously and, therefore, they have blacklisted 200 words related to pornography. As a result, the server immediately blocks if it finds such words are used. The entry to such sites is prohibited. Bangladesh also needs to take such steps in order to make safe net browsing as well as to save its teens and young adults from pornography. We appreciate the initiative undertaken by the court last year. It ordered six months' blockage on porn sites and made it necessary to have NID (National Identity Card) numbers as preconditions for using all social platforms in order to ensure a standard of minimum age requirements. Now, reasonably, the court should again pass a same rule on permanent blockage.

Pornographic addiction is just the symptom of a deeper problem. The time has come now to address the porn as a new drug. The recent stats on school goers' porn addiction are worrying. Therefore, the state should take it seriously as a wakeup call as well as be prompt to address porn as the underlying problem to things like lack of social skills, anxiety, etc. and find out the probable solution without making further delay. In addition, initiatives to tackle this heinous social disease should come from the decision making level as well as from the guardians. Furthermore, viewing pornography as deterrence from any problem or pain is not anyway acceptable thing to do. Last but not the least; we need more authentic social association and attention to each other as well as spiritual orientation to stay away from being ruined.

Md. Kawser Mamun of Department of Development Studies, University of Dhaka, can be reached at:  kawsermamun324@gmail.com

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