Do you know that milk has a very peculiar characteristic? It can be used both as an end product and as a raw material. The end product, when milk is used as a raw material, depends on what it is mixed with or what is added during the process. When we add sugar to the milk it enhances its taste. When it is mixed with a small amount of curd the combination turns into yogurt (curd) as also the ghee. But if something like lemon is added to the milk, not only the result is a disaster, but in the process we lose the milk itself.
The children and especially the teenagers are similar to milk. What they become depends on what kinds of values have been added to their lives. When values like discipline, ethics and right sense of duty are imbibed in today'syouth, they not only are able to develop themselves and stay on the righteous path but also add to the development of the nation as a whole. But if they learn vices like pornography, obscenity and violence, they are sure going to destroy their lives. What do we wish our children to achieve? Although everyone?from the common man to the government know the answer?what are we giving them today? Just an atmosphere, that gives fear, violence and obscenity related excitement. This excitement leads them towards hostility, rage, distortion and lust.
A young boy had come to me. He described his own experience in a cyber cafe. He explained it very desolately ?Saheb! Today, I went to a cyber cafe to check my examination result online. I was shocked to see some students (hardly 12 to 13 years old) not only watching the porn sites with excitement, but merrily discussing about obscenity of that website and also getting entertainment out of it. I noticed that they were not concerned about the presence of other people in the Caf? and didn'teven care for the dignity of their own school uniform!? Yes, this is the reality of our adolescent and young population. On one hand, we desire to make youth empowered and develop the nation and on the other hand, they are getting digressed, distorted and distressed from the various mediums of modern communication systems! What a shameful contradiction!!!
Growing free-sex culture through cyber pornography is the most dangerous example of these digression, distortion and distress. Why are people getting attracted to it? What kind of entertainment is this? Which society in this civilised world defines pornography as the part of entertainment? I feel, cyber pornography is not ?Manoranjan? (entertainment), it is ?Manobhanjan?(mind-destruction) which directly destroys the soul. Government of India is spending millions of rupees to curb the ?Digital-Divide? in the country but doesn'tpay any attention towards the fast and dangerous spread of this plague named pornography in the whole society.
I read a report in The Times of India, which had exposed the dangerous and rapid growth of pornographic websites. According to this report, the number of pornography related web pages in the world grew from 14 million in 1998 to roughly 260 million in 2003, which means it increased by nearly 1800 times in the period of five years! According to India Today, ?Almost 70 per cent of the traffic that passes through the gateways of Internet is adult in nature.? And this is increasing as fast as the water flows down the slope.
Various research and studies have proved that cyber pornography is hazardous for the society as a whole. It distorts social harmony and balance and creates an atmosphere of destruction, which leads people to social and family dissolution. There is a horrible trend in USA, which is called ?Fatherless America? or ?Motherless America?. This trend is related to those ?orphaned? children whose father or mother although alive are addicted to cyber pornography and don'ttake any care of their children and the family. Do you think there is any scope of a bright future for these children?
Due to rapid spread and growth of Internet, millions of teenaged children get addicted to cyber pornography. Naturally it affects their tender minds and hence these children have started experimenting what they watch on the porn websites. There is a sincere need to consider that how will we manage these kinds of experiment-oriented children and what will be the consequences of these experiments. Can we imagine? Is it not like adding lemon to the milk?
The two obvious impacts on adolescents (children between 12 to 18 years) due to cyber pornography would be?first, they get addicted to it and second, they become sexually active at the tender age, which is definitely not advisable. In both the cases, the implications of these tendencies are very destructive. It may lead children to a perilous chain of psycho-physical problems. They become the victims of problems like Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD) and teenage pregnancy whose numbers are dangerously increasing. In order to save the children from these hazardous impacts, government has introduced the programme of imparting sex education in schools. It has rather helped spreading free-sex culture and increase in pornography! Many western countries are experiencing this. In effect, the solution itself has become the problem.
I learnt from a website that a boy, aged ten, after watching an x-rated film, raped an eight-year old girl and her four-year old sister! There will be thousands of such cases that are related to child sex-crimes in so-called developed countries. Just think about India, a country who has about 200 million children, and a country in which there is a rapid growth of ?netizens?. Can we confidently say that we will be able to save our citizens specifically the teenaged children and youth from the ill-effects of cyber pornography? Sounds difficult, but we can.
It is a pity that any parent addicted to cyber pornography becomes victim of many sexual deformities, which destroys their happy married life and ultimately leads to divorce. And hence in the western countries they have started believing that pornography destroys the very institution of marriage and results in destruction of the lives of their children.
The child pornography related websites exploit innocent children for making pornographic films. This is the worst torturing aspect of cyber pornography in which sexual exploitation of children becomes a reality. These sites influence and lure millions of people to commit sexual exploitation of children. Many children from the developing countries like India have become the victims of such exploitation since many years. They also have become the victims of human trafficking and child prostitution through various online mediums available.
This is just a tip of an iceberg as it is only the short narration of the dangerous impacts of cyber pornography on children. Not only children, any person of any age group can be affected in a similar way. Again, I would like to quote the example of milk, when added with lemon can still be used to make cottage cheese (Paneer). But, it certainly becomes a poison when acid is added to it. Cyber pornography is nothing but such a poison for the children and youths and hence is totally inappropriate, unacceptable and dangerous in our society. We should get rid of this sort of socio-cultural pollution.
The question is what are the legal and supportive measures to be undertaken to make society totally free from the poison of pornography? Many liberal democratic countries like USA, UK, Australia, France, etc. have introduced specific laws and other technological solutions to curb online pornography. India should also take some concrete steps to curb this menace.
In this regards, I would like to suggest the following steps ?
By amending the Information Technology Act, 2000, we should add the extreme pornography and hardcore pornography as a crime and should include specific provisions for severe punishment for the producers, distributers and viewers of such online pornography.
India should follow the programmes of Australian Government, which are related to technological support for people surfing Internet on their PCs to get rid of online pornography. Australian Government provides free Internet Filters to all the PC owners at absolutely no cost. India can also provide this Filter free of cost to the PC owners as well as cyber cafes.
There should be a compulsion for every Internet Service Provider to block the porn sites. ISPs like Verizon and Sprint and others have agreed to block the porn sites in USA. We also can introduce such policy for Indian ISPs.
There is an urgent need to establish a Cyber Police Force under the newly made National Investigation Agency. This force will be responsible for implementing the Information Technology Act, 2000 and will curb the cyber pornography, cyber terrorism and other cyber crimes.
It is true that millions of porn sites are freely available on net. Such porn sites sell porn films through net and utilise credit card and other facilities of the banking system for such transactions. We can take support of banking vigilance system to identify the distributors and viewers of cyber pornography.
If we implement the above mentioned suggestions measures then definitely we can free our country from the cyber pornography. It will prove to be a milestone to establish a society, which is a crime-free, cultural pollution-free and exploitation-free society. Survival of any civilisation depends on the women, children and youth and the cyber pornography is proving hazardous for all the three. If we are not able to save these women, children and youths from pornography hazard then how can we guarantee the survival of our civilisation in the future?
(The writer is a leading Jain saint and can be contacted at [email protected])