Thursday, October 24, 2013


Catholic Communications, Sydney Archdiocese,
23 Oct 2013
R18+ video games are often pornographic
In the past 10 years pornography has become ever more readily available. Online, via smart phone, in the latest violent R18+ rated video games and music videos, and on magazine stands at the local servo, pornography is an increasingly pervasive and disturbing presence.
Easily accessed by teenagers and children, some as young as seven and eight, pornography is fast becoming the way many of today's adolescents are learning about sexuality.

Divorced from love, intimacy and respect, increasing scientific evidence shows that pornography not only has the ability to reshape society but comes with a high social and personal cost to families, marriages and most particularly to children, says Jonathan Doyle.
"Science has finally caught up with anecdotal evidence long attributed to pornography and the dangers and adverse effects on users as well as their families," he says.
In cooperation with the Archdiocese of Sydney and the Parramatta Diocese and Diocese of Broken Bay, the well known national and international speaker on sexuality, relationships and personal development will be in Sydney this weekend to give two important lectures on the reality and risk of pornography.
Both lectures are open to the public and parents, students, educators and interested professionals are urged to attend.
Jonathon Doyle
"For centuries the Church has warned against pornography and had its position dismissed as being moralistic and judgemental. But just as the dangers of contraception with regard to oestrogen replacement are well known, science is also now proving beyond doubt the damage and danger of pornography," Jonathan says adding that many positions taken by the Church are increasingly being supported by science and shown to be beneficial to physical, mental and emotional health as well as spirituality.
Citing the most recent international research on the effects of pornography, Jonathan says the findings are virtually unanimous when it comes to the damage pornography can cause in men, women and children and to both married and single adults.
One of the leading authority's in the field, Professor Mary Anne Layden, Director of the Sexual Trauma and Psychopathology Program at University of Pennsylvania describes pornography as an ideal "teacher, permission-giver and trigger to violence and other negative behaviours and attitudes."
 As humans we learn best through images rather than words, and learn even better and faster when aroused, she says.
Whether the arousal is triggered by excitement, joy, fear, disgust or sexual tension, being in an aroused state we are more likely to remember the experience which is reinforced and further ingrained by repetition.
"This makes pornography an ideal teacher," Jonathan says and explains that increasingly as pornography becomes "edgier" and blatant, users become desensitised to pathological and illegal behaviours such as rape, prostitution, domestic violence, sexual harassment, sexual violence and fetishism and deviancy.
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"Today we know that pornography massively stimulates the release of the neurochemical striatal, D2domamine," Jonathan says adding that this is why so many adults worldwide have become addicted to pornography.
But teenagers are even more vulnerable to the effects of dopamine which not only are fired faster and in greater quantity from the ventral tegmental section of the brain but in adolescence although this part of the brain is fully developed, the frontal cortex responsible for reasoning, judgement and impulse control, is not.
Which why for teens pornography can be so damaging.
According to overseas studies, more than 70% of all boys aged 12 have already been exposed to porn and sexually explicit images. By the time boys reach 15, 100% of them have seen porn in some form or are accessing it regularly.
While girls are less likely to become addicted by the age of 16, more than 96% of them have been exposed to porn with many believing not only that porn is normal but so too is rough, violent and demeaning treatment of women and to be liked by a boy they need to be overtly sexual in the way they dress and behave.
Jonathan says the advice a few years ago to help protect children and teenagers from accessing porn online was to prevent them using their computers in their bedroom behind closed doors but instead in a living or family room where  parents could see and monitor what they were accessing.
But with the emergence of iPads, smart phones, social media and advances in communication technology knowing let alone monitoring what a child may be accessing has become impossible.
"Parents can't stop children accessing porn. It is part of life today. What they can do is inculcate the virtues into their children and for Catholic parents, begin the process of formation as early as possible," he says and urges parents to play a stronger role in their child or children's lives.
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"Parents must provide sexual discipleship," Jonathan insists and cites Blessed John Paul II who told parents on many occasions that his father never had to be hard on him because his father had been hard on himself.
"Fathers should set an example to their children as loving husbands who respect and love their wives, and love and respect all women," he says.
Jonathan wants fathers to be more open, particularly those with sons and not to shy away from talking openly and frankly to their sons about the challenges and dangers of pornography.
"Fathers should be guides and mentors to their sons," he says and expresses his concern that for many young people, their introduction to sexuality and sexual education is by accessing pornography.
"We must let our children know how much bigger, richer and more fulfilling the landscape is when it comes to relationships, marriage, family and parenting," he says.
A father of three young children himself, with Masters degrees in Education and currently studying for a doctorate at Melbourne's John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family, Jonathan is co-founder with his wife Karen of Choicez Media which offers information and support to parents, students, educators, professionals, clerics and the laity on contemporary issues ranging from cyber bullying to violence and pornography.
Based in Canberra, Jonathan is travelling to Sydney this weekend and give an address: Porn: Pleasure or Problem at St Patrick's Cathedral Hall, Parramatta on Saturday, 26 October from 9 until 11am.
Later the same day he will give a second lecture on "Pornography: Reality and Risk" from 2- 4 pm at Chatswood St Pius X College Gymnasium, Chatswood.
The event is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Sydney's Life, Marriage and Family Centre, the Diocese of Parramatta and the Diocese of Broken Bay. Entry is a gold coin donation. To find out more about the lectures and to read Jonathan Doyle's blogs on pornography and other contemporary issues log on to:

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