Banning porn won't work, sex education will: Experts

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New Delhi, Aug 4: Terming the government's crackdown on 857 pornographic websites an "act in haste", the country's top sex and behavioural experts have favoured making sex education mandatory for young Indian teenagers so that crimes like rape or child molestation can be efficiently curbed.

According to them, a crackdown is not the solution as adults have a right to watch porn in the privacy of their homes and that right should not be taken away.

Banning porn won't work, sex education will: Experts.
"Banning porn websites is not the solution at all. Educating the youth about what sex and related behaviours are must be on the agenda of the present government," Dr Prakash Kothari, one of India's leading sexologists based in Mumbai, told IANS.

The ministry of communications and information and technology, in its order of July 31 under section 79(3)(b) of the IT Act 2000, banned the 857 websites terming their content "immoral and indecent".

The ban will only result in a boom for the pirated porn industry, experts say.

Also read: Government directs internet providers to block over 800 porn sites

"One doubts if this ban can be a fool-proof solution. It will probably increase the sale of pirated porn DVDs. A ban of this kind might actually increase sexual frustration and lead to other sexual and social problems," warned Dr Madhuri Singh, consulting psychiatrist at Nanavati Super Speciality Hospital in Mumbai.

The experts, however, feel that when it comes to child pornography, prompt action is required.

"Throughout the world, child porn is banned and generally stays off the internet. Problem is that some adult websites have links that lead to child pornography and those must be dealt sternly with," noted Dr Samir Parikh, director of mental health and behavioural sciences at Fortis Hospital in New Delhi.

Objectification of women and child abuse are growing in our society, says Dr Parikh, but there has to be a proper mechanism to ensure that young adults do not get easy access to porn.

Also read: Porn websites not difficult to access, despite ban: Experts

"With the proliferation of technology, kids have easy access to porn and related materials and this issue has to be brought to the fore," he contended.

Owing to the growth in the smartphone sector, online porn viewing is going to see an explosion in the next five years, a recent study said.

According to Britain-based digital market research specialist firm Juniper Research, online porn watching will grow by nearly 42 percent in the next five years.

The porn video hits will grow to 193 billion a year by 2020 from around 136 billion this year, it said.

Growth is taking place in the video chat and webcam content area in the global porn industry that is worth $97 billion.

Sexual literacy may be the need of the hour, feel others.

Also read: Porn sites ban 'Talibanisation' of India: Milind Deora

"In the absence of proper sex education, ignorance prevails because porn is a double-edged sword," said Dr Sudhakar Krishnamurti, director of world-famous Andromeda Andrology Centre in Hyderabad.

"Responsibility lies with all the stakeholders -- government, media houses, social scientists, doctors, teachers -- to ensure that sex education becomes the key to tackle rising cases of sexual abuse," Dr Parikh stressed.

According to Dr Sameer Malhotra, director of the department of mental health and behavioural sciences at Max Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi, "age-appropriate and sensitively handled sex education can help in preventing risky behaviour and addressing myths" associated with sexual issues.

"Sex education will actually limit porn viewing among adults," said Dr Manish Jain, senior consultant (psychiatrist) at BLK Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi.

Parental guidance of age-appropriate surfing may also help.

"Adults websites can be blocked on any computer and in any browser to prevent adult-themed content from showing up in web searches and on specific websites. Modify your computers with parental guidance," Dr Jain advised.

IANS

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