Pornography is ‘writing, pictures, films, etc. designed to stimulate sexual excitement’. These can be viewed online and offline, either intentionally or by accident, which can influence how young people think about sex, relationships and their own body image.
Adodo Eddy Osaman, a renowned training specialist and social media influencer, in his usual way of impacting the life of young people across the length and breath of Nigeria and the world, addresses young people on the reality and prevalence of internet pornography. In a news letter delivered to Daily Sun, Osaman also urged parents, adults, schools and non-governmental organisations to remember their responsibilities and join in helping young people out.
Osaman opined that being curious about sex and relationships is a natural part of growing up but viewing pornography can affect young people in different ways. He said young people could experience a range of different risks from viewing pornographic images and videos as they can portray:
- unrealistic expectations of body image and performance, which could leave young people questioning their own shape, size and overall appearance
- more casual attitudes towards sex and relationships which don’t reflect messages about love and consent
- more risky or violent sexual behaviour, which if seen without appropriate relationship and sex education might leave a young person with a warped attitude towards the sexual behaviour they expect to experience
- unrealistic attitudes towards gender roles and identities in relationships; often showing women as always ‘up for it’ and men as dominant
- adult, violent or discriminatory language about sexual behaviour, relationships and gender
“Viewing pornography for the first time could be both accidental and on purpose, with peer pressure and social influence playing a big role in how and when it might happen. During a research carried out in 2007 on the exposure of children and teenagers to internet pornography in South Western Nigeria, 13.4% said they rarely watch it, 19.8% said they occasionally watch it, 27.6% said they frequently watch it, 17.7% said they often watch it and 7.8% said they always watch it (Source: Journal of Information Technology Impact Vol. 7, 2007). Young people may also encounter pornography online by simply misspelling a search term or URL and ending up on a pornographic site. This may be because some mis-spelt URLs are created to capture an audience looking for the more official or well-known sites they are trying to mimick, and may populate their sites with a variety of different content ranging from advertising to adult content”.
On where the Nigerian law stands on this issue, Osaman said: “The computer security and critical information infrastructure protection bill 2005 addresses issues relating to inordinate and criminal use of the Internet for sexual activities. It states thus:
Any person who, using any computer –
- engages or solicits or entices or compels any minor to engage in any sexual or related act; or
- engages in, or facilitates any indecent exposure of a minor or creates, possesses or distributes child pornography; or
- facilitates the commission of a sexual or related act which constitutes an offence under any law for the time being in force in Nigeria, commits an offence under this Act and shall be liable on conviction –
(i) in the case of paragraph (a), to a fine of not less than N3,000,000 or imprisonment for a
term of not less than 7 years or to both such fine and imprisonment, and
(ii) in the case of paragraph (b) and (c) of this subsection, to a fine of not less than N1,000,000 or imprisonment for a term of not less than 5 years or to both such fine and imprisonment”.
“As an adult, there could also be serious consequences for you in the future, for example, you can be arrested or prevented from working with children”.
In relation to how to supporting young people, Osaman said: “As a Parent, Adult, School or Non-governmental Organization, here’s what you can do to support any young person immersed in pornography:
- Remain non-judgemental – it is important that young people feel they can discuss sensitive topics openly and without judgement and to acknowledge that it is ok to feel curious about sex
- Be age appropriate – discussions about sex and relationships should always be approached in an age appropriate, open and factual way
- Challenge unrealistic expectations – support young people in critiquing the messages portrayed in pornography and understanding what is a healthy relationship and attitude towards sexual behaviour and consent
- Develop strategies – support young people in developing strategies for resisting peer pressure and tackling situations where pornography is being shared around their peers
- Schools should raise signposts to support and guidance – ensure young people know where to access support from within school, home and via support charities as well as where to access reliable information about sex, puberty and relationships”.
(Adodo Eddy Osaman a Nigerian-born Training specialist currently in Canada. He is also a renowned educator and mentor in Nigeria and several parts of the world, training adults, youths and kids alike. Born on November 9, 1988 and a graduate of the University of Benin, Osaman loves traveling and helping youths in developing positive career and life choices. He can be reached on Instagram and Twitter: @eddyosaman).