By Mark David Blum, Esq.
When did children become more precious than diamonds? At what point did our spawn become so weak and vulnerable that we put them in bubbles? Whatever happened to skinned knees, eating mud, getting pats on the butt, and riding something without a helmet?
We are living at a time when the presence of children, even your own kids in your own home, has become so dangerous that there is great incentive to have none. Children are now a clear and present danger to everybody with whom they come into contact. Our society has lost its collective mind by elevating children to some surreal supernatural status to the exclusion of all other things.
The origins of this new phenomenon are well known. Politicians are to blame. It is a sure bet that any elected official can garner support for their platform and their re-election by finding a child issue to stand upon. In the 1990’s and beginning of the new century, it was the fashion to use pedophile residency laws as that pulpit. Before that it was safety helmets.
The State of Iowa is considering a new law which I predict will have national implications. Legislators there are looking into criminal punishment for parents whose children “inadvertently” catch a glimpse of their pornography (whatever that means).
Under this new scheme, if your child sneaks into your room and snatches a dirty magazine from under your mattress, you can be charged with a crime. If your child manages to sneak onto your computer and views raunchy websites, you can be convicted of endangering the welfare of a child. This new worldview presupposes that a parent allowed the child to become endangered by simply being in possession of whatever police deem pornography. It is not a long reach to charge a citizen with attempted endangering by simply having pornography in your house.
In my youth, pornography was everywhere. It was for sale in newspaper boxes on the streets of Los Angeles. Nobody had to hide it behind counters in plain brown wrappers. The law was that you had to be 18 to access the material; there was even a big sticker on the newspaper box. Still, that never stopped enterprising youths from a quick bang to the sweet spot on top of the box causing it to pop open revealing its charms. But the world has changed and no longer is Deep Throat and Behind the Green Door the gold standard for pornography.
But now we are coming into a new revolution. Parents and other adults are to be subjected to criminal prosecution for doing what adults are permitted to do. Playboy, Penthouse, and the internet are normal and routine fixtures for fantasizing adults. Some argue that pornography is dangerous, abusive, and without any redeeming social value. The other side of the coin is that pornography is a release and is just fantasy harmful to nobody. While we adults debate amongst ourselves, politicians seek to invade family privacy using the existence of pornography. I would venture to guess that it is the moralists and religionists who are using this law not to protect children but to make it too dangerous for adults to engage in lawful tolerated activity.
So what is the harm of a child viewing pornography? A young child will be clueless as to what they are viewing. An older child or teenager will see what it is that everybody else is talking about. You cannot teach about sexual relations and the mechanics thereof without diagrams. I remember when I got the “lecture”. It made no sense to me as I could not fathom what was being told me. Erections? Penetration? Ejaculation? These terms meant nothing to me as a young teen. If not for dirty pictures and descriptive detail, I would never have learned the lessons that have enabled me to be a mature male involved in relationships.
People argue that pornography harms children. I have yet to see empirical data to support that claim. How can pictures of natural human behavior harm a child? I think the issue is that children viewing pornography turn to their parents and seek explanations and it is the parent’s own issues about sex that make the situation too uncomfortable. Parents don’t want children to point to an act of penetration or oral sex and inquire, “what’s that, Mommy? Why are they doing that?” Methinks this is at the core of the anti pornography crusade. Of course, there are also those parents who think their children shall remain forever virgins and think that if children don’t know, they wont ask. Fundamentally missed in the entire discussion is that children grow and mature and sooner or later discover they are sexual beings. They are curious and need information. We have come to a point in American history where prudism is the controlling paradigm.
I have always believed that children should skin their knees, eat mud, and yes learn about the things adults do. In my home, we speak openly about sensitive issues as they arise. We do not back down, hide information, or lie to our children. I consider lying to children about issues like drugs, alcohol, and sex to be its own form of child abuse. We as parents have a responsibility to prepare our children for life. Children are just adults in training and we owe them the truth, the facts, and the knowledge required to be a healthy normal socially functioning adult. It is a long process and comes in short bursts of enlightenment.
But in Iowa and what I predict will be other communities, the pendulum is swinging toward ignorance. I am not sure yet whether the proposed legislation is about keeping porn out of the hands of adults or if they really are trying to protect children. Assuming politicians are being honest (two, three, four … ) then the puritans have taken over the community. They see any viewing of human sexual relations as being dirty and a danger to children. Such a world view is itself pornographic and obscene.
Brace yourself as more and more laws like this are coming down the road. Children are the most popular plank upon which politicians build their platforms. They are constantly devising new ways to handle the Mommy problem and appear to be protecting the children. What is really happening is that we adults are being punished, cramped, and attacked in how we live our lives. The world of the child is not the standard by which adults should be compelled to live. Because the baby cannot chew steak does not mean adults should be forced to only drink milk.
Children need to grow and mature. We need adults free to educate and enlighten children as to adult responsibilities and obligations. And yes, sex is one of those obligations we have as adults. Seeing pictures thereof does no harm to a child. Criminalizing innocent behavior and tearing a family apart is a sin far more egregious than any act of inadvertently viewing coital pictures. Bring back some sanity to the law. Do not let politicians be your moral barometers.