SHAYLA DAVIS | Scroll Photography

Pornography is a public health hazard

CHRIS GOYETTE | Scroll Illustration

CHRIS GOYETTE | Scroll Illustration

In late January, Utah Sen. Todd Weiler filed a bill to declare pornography as a public health crisis.

“This resolution recognizes that pornography is a public health hazard leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms,” according to the Utah State Legislature website.

With this bill, Weiler wants the legislature and governor of Utah to increase the education about the dangers of pornography among the citizens of Utah and the nation. He also wants efforts to increase to prevent pornography from entering  the home.

Pornography presents danger to everyone, regardless of age. A person will become more and more addicted to it with every instance of watching pornographic videos or looking at pornographic images. It can even become addictive with each romance novel read, such as 50 Shades of Grey. We believe that preventative measures must be taken.

While the bill has received criticism from news organizations around the world since it was presented, it has also sparked the necessary conversation on the harm of pornography.

“I think this is fantastic,” said Candace Cameron Bure, star of Full House and co-host of The View, in February as they were discussing the bill.

Bure shared her own experiences with pornography. She said her first exposure was when she was 12 years old.

Bure’s co-host, Joy Behar, asked Bure if she could still see the image she was first exposed to, even after the long period of time that had passed.

“I can see it in my head right now,” Bure said. “You can’t take those images away (…)  it’s something that won’t go out of my brain.”

Fight the New Drug, an organization dedicated to educating the world about pornography and the harm it can cause, states on their website that pornography triggers an increase of dopamine in the brain.

“Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain’s reward and pleasure centers,” according to the Psychology Today website.

Since consistent pornography use causes an overload of dopamine in the brain, the brain tries to fight back by reducing its amounts of dopamine receptors, according to Fight the New Drug.

With the fewer receptors, the user of pornography won’t feel the effect of dopamine as much, causing a search for more, and sometimes more violent, pornography.

Because of these alarming statistics and facts about pornography, what should we be doing to prevent them from increasing?

First and foremost, parents need to make sure their children know that they can come to them with any questions they have about sex.

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“A warm and communicative parent–child relationship is the most important factor (in reducing porn use among children),” said Dr. Patricia Greenfield in her study on inadvertent exposure to pornography.

Parents should also let their children know that while pornography is bad, sex is not.

“One reason we are here on earth is to learn to manage the passions and feelings of our mortal bodies,” said Linda S. Reeves, second counselor in the Relief Society General Presidency, in the April 2014 general conference.

Reeves said God gave us these feelings in the body for the purpose of bringing children into the world.

“The intimate marriage relationship between a man and a woman that brings children into mortality is also meant to be a beautiful, loving experience that binds together two devoted hearts, unites both spirit and body, and brings a fullness of joy and happiness as we learn to put each other first,” Reeves said.

Second, parents should install protective Internet filters on every computer in the home. Young adults not living at home can also do this on their own computers.

“K9 Web Protection is a free Internet filter and parental control software for your home Windows or Mac computer,” according to the K9 Web Protection website.

K9 blocks more than 70 categories on the Internet, including pornography, violence, racism and malware/spyware, according to the K9 Web Protection website.

Third, if parents do discover their children have been viewing pornography, they still need to show love and support for their children while educating them on the dangers of pornography.

“If a child has been found with pornography, it’s important to not jump to conclusions,” according to the Focus on the Family website, a Christian ministry group dedicated to helping families. “A harsh, impulsive interrogation will most likely just shut down your child. An unhealthy shame often leads to more acting-out with pornography.”

Finally, if we find ourselves to be caught in the binds of pornography, we should remember how much Heavenly Father and the Savior love us.

“Our Savior has the power to cleanse and heal you,” Reeves said. “He can remove the pain and sorrow you feel and make you clean again through the power of His Atonement.”

Pornography is harmful to everyone. It distorts the image of what sex should be like between a man and a woman in a loving relationship.

We need to do everything we can to keep pornography out of our homes and out of our minds. And if we have been caught in pornography’s trap, we need to do everything to get ourselves out of it and make our best efforts to not get sucked back in.

Scroll Editorial – Approved by a 28-0 vote by the Scroll Editorial Staff

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