Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

Abuse of internet pornography detrimental to daily interactions

The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.

Despite a litany of complaints concerning MU-Wireless, the internet connection on campus is nonetheless free. With free internet comes the opportunity to constantly peruse cyberspace, where access to online pornography - colloquially "porn" - outlandishly easy to come by. This ease of access sets the stage for an omnipresent issue - addiction to porn - which corrupts our everyday interactions more than most people care to notice.

According to Stop Procrastinating, an app that blocks distracting websites, "A study of 3,000 male college students has revealed that a majority of them believe they are addicted to watching online pornography." Of course, porn addiction is not limited to males, but the scope of this discussion need not dwell upon who watches porn, rather why and what effects result from the addiction.

Porn is not only free, but to many, watching it appeals more than going out and interacting with real people. Why risk going Uptown and getting shut down by a guy or girl when your mobile device is only inches away?

That is not to say that those addicted to porn do not go out. However, due to porn's potency and widespread influence, simply being around other people and interacting with them is an experience tarnished by subconscious thoughts that bleed into our unspoken ones. Porn addicts are taught to objectify anyone they come into contact with, keeping in mind the different ways the person might be manipulated.

Indeed, these thoughts are uncomfortable and disturbing across the board. Yet, porn undoubtedly pushes our society to think this way. Adolescents begin to explore the boundless universe of porn at young ages. According to a CyberPsychology and Behavior graphic from 2008, "The Nature and Dynamics of Internet Pornography Exposure for Youth," 93 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls are exposed to Internet porn before the age of 18.

This exposure clearly has a lasting impact, as shown by the aforementioned study, and poses issues concerning objectification. The porn industry successfully gears its videos toward the interests of its viewers, and these interests often turn out to be that of stereotyping. In porn, men are generally strong, dominant and in control, while women are subjected to men's desires. They act as the inferior partner, the one to be manipulated, abused and spoken down to.

Thus, it is not a stretch to link an objectifying behavior to porn. In the same vein, watching porn perpetuates unrealistic expectations for real life sexual encounters. The basis of porn is to produce fantastical images of sex which one might otherwise never experience. Porn stars do not shy from enhancing surgeries and numbing drugs in order to produce the most effective videos.

This unique characteristic of porn, of escalating extremes in its depiction of what sex is, leads to another severe consequence for those who use it. Porn destroys the image of sex in the minds of those who watch it frequently, especially users who are exposed at a young age. As youth become more desensitized to "vanilla" sex and situations, the desire to seek out more extreme and more unrealistic porn creeps in.

This phenomenon can lead to the destruction of a healthy libido and destroys the ability of young partners to bond and experience sex naturally. When the natural human desire to have a healthy sex life is replaced with the unnatural dependence on pornographic images, nothing good can result.

This is not to say that use of porn will automatically lead to young people trying to copy and emulate the images they see on the computer screen, or to scare people into believing that this is the case. However, the tendency of pornographic experience to seep into the malleable minds of our youth and create harmful subconscious effects is a real problem.

In fact, this unseen aspect of the ill effects of porn makes it all the more dangerous, as most of the consequences may remain hidden until they are too late to fix. Make no mistake, the cumulative effects of porn abuse have the ability to ruin lives.

The hard evidence of the effects that porn has on the young mind is currently a tricky situation, as the use of porn by teenagers and young adults is a difficult pattern to study. We have yet to see all the harm that may come of an age in which teenagers have unlimited and instant access to porn at a young age.

However, the anecdotal evidence is there, and as the statistics tell us, many of you have no doubt had experience with porn.

So, we call upon the reader to ask yourself whether or not you truly would like to see what is down the rabbit hole of excessive porn use, considering subtle yet long-term consequences. Relying on porn for sexual pleasure may be easy, but clicking "X" to close that browser is even easier, and it may very well save your life.