Effects Of Pornographic Films On Nigerian Youths

Effects Of Pornographic Films On Nigerian Youths

The history of pornography dates back to pre-modern era and from that point on, there has been many works produced with highly sexual themes.

First, were the pornographic images of care paintings by the Roman Pottery and Sculpture; the writings of well-known Authors and Poets such as Pietro-Aretino (a 15th century Italian Writer), D. H. Lawrence (a British Novelist) and other famous paintings such as “Venus of Urbino” by Titian, “Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon” by Picasso and many more.

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The beginning of the 20th century was an era of boom for pornographic visuals and print materials with explicit sexual contents enhanced by the impact of technological development. With the production of sophisticated equipments in this 21st century and the introduction of ICTs (Information Communication Technologies), pornography has indeed been pushed to the apogee which it is at today. Thus, making the production, distribution and consumption (viewing) of pornographic contents very easy; change as it is said is the only factor that is constant in nature (life) because every time somewhere, changes occur. When it occur, can bring positive or negative effects, which can become rampant, unpredictable and problematic, thereby calling for caution and proper handling.

Pornographic Films as one of the aspects or changes of today’s Modern Electronic Mass media Content, indeed, calls for ultimate attention due to its silent but obvious effects, especially on the youths. What then is pornography? “Pornography is defined as the explicit depiction of sexual subject matters especially with the sole intention of sexually exciting the viewer”, (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com). According the Hornby (2000:903), pornography are “books, videos, etc that describe or show naked people and sexual acts in order to make people feel sexually excited, especially in a way that many other people find offensive”; while Geddes & Grosset (2007:209) said they are “writings, pictures, films etc intended primarily to arouse sexual desire.” It may come in any variety of media – printed literature, photos, sculpture, drawings, paintings, animation, sound recording, FILM, video or video game.

Also, listed in (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com) pornography is divided into two major genres: Soft-core and Hardcore – the former refers to pornography that does not depict penetration (i.e. usually, genitals are not shown); while the later refers to pornography that depicts penetration explicitly. Other sub-genres include: Amateur pornography, Fetish pornography, Homosexual pornography (gay and lesbian pornography), orgy pornography, Race-oriented pornography (e.g. Asian, Black, Latino, Interracial) and Voyeur pornography (e.g. hidden camera pornography, “Up Skirt” pornography).
Notwithstanding the disastrous effects of pornography (especially pornographic films) it has received less or no attention from both the Government and the entire members of the society. Rather it is regarded as part of the normal trend of modernization or development and this has triggered the spread or high rate of its distribution in our society these days. Foley & Pastore (1989) stated:
“Among the alarming development of these years has been the widespread increase of pornography and wanton violence in the media. Books and magazines, recordings, the cinema, the theatre, television, videocassettes, advertising displays and even telecommunications frequently offer a representation of violent behaviour or of permissiveness in sexual activity that reaches the point of being openly pornographic and morally offensive.”

In an article credited to http://ww.enough.com; 2008: (http://www.google.com); it was reported that in August 1997, there were 72,000 sexually explicit sites on the internet and an estimated 260 new porn sited every day. UNCIEF also estimated that one million children are forced into prostitution or used to produce pornography each year. Many are handed over or sold by their families driven by the extremes of poverty… The internet also has given dealers in child pornography a far bigger audience and anonymity. For this reason, the researcher tends to examine and isolate these effects of pornographic films, which is very evident on the youths and to proffer solution.

The range of the problem of pornography is wider than it seems, everything pertaining to the behaviours or attitudes, which the youths exhibit today, can directly or indirectly be attributed to their constant viewing or exposure to pornographic films bearing in mind the unseen power of motion pictures.
“As reflections of the dark side of a human nature marred by sin and pornography and the exaltation of violence are age-old realities of the human condition. In the past quarter century, however, they have taken on new dimensions and have become serious social problems. At a time of widespread and unfortunate confusion about moral norms, the communications media have made pornography and violence accessible to a vastly expanded audience, including young people and even children, and a problem which at one time was confined mainly to wealthy countries has now begun, via the communications media, to corrupt moral values in developing countries”; (Foley & Pastore; 1989).
In Nigeria, the high rate or increase in sex crimes among the youths especially in our Territory Institutions can also be related to their consistent exposure to these influential pornographic films. Among these sex crimes include: Rape, Public Indecency, Sexual Harassment, Violence, Drug Abuse, Homosexuality, Lesbianism, High rate of Prostitution, to mention but a few. As Surette (1994) reveals that;
”violent crime committed by youths, has recently increased dramatically. Today about 5 out of every 20 robbery arrests and 3 of every 20 murder, rape and aggravated assault arrests are of juveniles. In raw numbers, this translated into 3,000 murders, 6,000 forcible rape, 41,000 robbery and 65,000 aggravated assault arrests of youths annually.”

If actually these are the effects of pornography on youths; to what extent has pornographic films contributed to it? And how can we check these problems? Based on the observation above, around which this project revolves, the researcher therefore, decided to carry out a study on THE EFFECTS OF PORNOGRAPHIC FILMS ON NIGERIAN YOUTHS using EBONYI STATE UNIVERSITY STUDENTS as a study. And “…… to describe the more serious effects of pornography and violence on individuals and society, to indicate some of the principal; causes of the problem as it exists today and to point to remedial steps which need to be taken by professional communicators, by parents, by educators, by youths, by the general public, by public authorities and by churches, religious bodies and groups in the private sector.” (Foley & Pastore; 1989).
There is no research in the universe without the objectives it tends to achieve. The major objectives which trigged the researcher into carrying out this study are to find:
(a) Why pornographic films are in existence?
(b) To determine why youths watch pornographic films?
(c) To ascertain if the youths derive satisfaction from watching pornographic films despite its moral implications.
(d) To find out the reaction of parents with regards to youths watching pornographic films; and
(e) To identify the effects of pornographic films on the youths.
According to Nwodu (2006), significance of the study “establishes the rationale for the study. The statement here should clearly state the importance of the study and who should or is likely to benefit from the outcome of the study”.
Therefore, this study would serve as a source or useful information on pornography and its implications to future Communication Researchers on this topic or related topics and it will add more flesh to the body of knowledge in general. It would also provide criteria for adequate film censorship to the Government and the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), especially in the Electronic Media.
Finally, it would bring to limelight the effects (positive and negative) of pornographic films on the youths which could lead to its promotion, reduction or total extinction in our society and provide the Policy Makers with the necessary facts needed for making legislations on issues of pornography. As Surette (1994) puts “… violence-reducing policies directed only at the media will have little effect”. Better policies must cover all sectors in order to achieve better results.
The research questions which this study sets to provide answers to are:
(1) Why are pornographic films in existence?
(2) Why do youths watch pornographic films?
(3) What satisfaction do our youths derive from watching pornographic films?
(4) What are the parents’ reactions over the youths who watch pornographic films?
(5) What are the effects of theses pornographic films on our youths?
The research hypothesis includes:
(a) H0 Pornographic films are not in existence.
H1 Pornographic films are in existence.
(b) H0 Youths do not watch pornographic films.
H1 Youths watch pornographic films.
(c) H0 There is no certain satisfaction that youths derive from watching pornographic films.
H1 There is certain satisfaction that youths derive from watching pornographic films.
(d) H0 Parents do not react to the youths who watch pornographic films.
H1 Parents react to youths who watch pornographic films.
(e) H0 Pornographic films do not affect the youths.
H1 Pornographic films affect the youths.
For suitable study, the theoretical framework to be applied is the “Observational Learning Theory and Imitation (of) Behaviour Theory”, which were treated as one under the “Media and Violence/Attitude Change Theories”.
This theory states that “people are likely to learn aggression from the mass media (film) and to pattern their behaviour after the dramatis personae and emulate or imitate the model seen if they expect to receive gratification”. (Wogu, 2008:175). Therefore, the youths consistent exposure to such media contents (e.g. pornographic films), learn through observation (watching or viewing) and imitate such behaviour that they have seen, which in turn compromise or jeopardize their moral values that directly or indirectly leads to increase in sex crimes in the society.
Okunna (1994), in explaining the Powerful Effects Model states, “from the beginning of mass communication, there has been a preoccupation with the influence or effects of mass media on the media audience (society). Because of their special power to affect the way people think, feel an behave, he mass media have been created with incredible persuasive ability to change attitudes and behaviour”.
For better comprehension, definition of some of the terms used in this section would come under Contextual and Operational definitions.
These comprise of the dictionary meanings of the terms used in this section.
PORNOGRAPHY: Are books, videos, etc. that describe or show naked people and sexual acts in order to make people feel sexually excited, especially in a way that many other people find offensive.
YOUTH: This is the time of life when a person is young, especially the time before a child becomes an adult; the quality or state of being young; young people considered as a group.
RAPE: Is the crime of forcing somebody to have sex with you especially using violence; to face somebody to have sex with you when they do not want to by threatening them or using violence.
VIOLENCE: Is a violent behaviour that is intended to hurt or kill somebody; physical or emotional force and energy.
HOMOSEXUALITY: Is a term used to refer to a relationship when a person, usually a man, who is sexually attracted to people of the sex.
LESBIANISM: Is a term used to refer to a relationship when a woman is sexually attracted to other women.
PROSTITUTION: Is the work of a prostitute; the use of your abilities on something of little value.
These are person definitions of the terms as related to the topic under study.
PORNOGRAPHY: Refers to moving pictures (films) which are primarily intended to arouse sexual desire or sexually excite people or its viewer.
YOUTH: Is the period when somebody is young; the period between childhood and adulthood.
RAPE: It sis the act of using violence or threatening behaviour or forcing someone especially a woman, to have sexual intercourse against her will.
VIOLENCE: Is a physical force intended to cause injury or destruction on somebody or something.
HOMOSEXUALITY: Is a term used to signify when someone (man) is sexually attracted to the same sex. And such persons are referred to as “Homosexuals”.
LESBIANISM: Lesbianism is the direct opposite of homosexuality. It is when someone (woman) is sexually attracted to her fellow women. And such persons are referred to a “Lesbians”.
PROSTITUTION: Is an act of having sexual intercourse for money or to offer indiscriminately for sexual intercourse especially for money.
This work was limited for reasons of feasibility to study the attitudes and views of youths ranging from the ages of 15-30; and it dealt on films only, which is one among the many sources of pornographic materials for reasons of slant, time and inadequate finance.

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The researcher got the sources of the review of this study from the library (both the Departmental library and Personal library), books borrowed from friends and mainly reading through articles, journals and books surfed from the internet.
However, the review is grouped under the following sub-headings:
 Etymology of Pornography
 Reasons for Pornography (Pornographic Films)
 The Effects and Implications of Pornography (Pornographic Films)
 The Societal Point of View about Pornography (Pornographic Films)
 Efforts of the Government in Addressing the Effects of Pornography (Pornographic Films)
 The Way Out
Tracing the etymology of the word “Pornography”, it is evident through studies that it was derived from the Greek word “Nopvoyayia” (pornographia); which is a combination of two Greek words “Nopvn” (“porne” or “prostitute”), “ypayw” (“grapho” or “to write or record”) and the suffix –ia (-is meaning “state of”, “property of ”, or “place of”); thus meaning “a place to record prostitutes”.
The origin of the definition of sexual acts is as old as civilization which can be found painted on various ancient buildings, but the concept of “pornography” as understood today did not exist until the Victorian era; when large scale excavations of Pompeii and Herculaneum were undertaken in the 1860s, much of the erotic arts of the Romans came to light, shocking the Victorians who saw themselves as the intellectual heirs of the Roman Empire. Not knowing what to do with the frank depictions of sexuality, they endeavored to hide them away from everyone except the upper class scholars. The moveable objects were locked away in the secret Museum of Naples, Italy and what could not be removed was covered and cordoned off as to not corrupt the sensibilities of women, children and the working class.
In defining the term “pornography”, the current definition of it was added in the 1860’s, replacing the older one meaning, “writings about prostitutes”. It first appeared in an English Medical Dictionary in 1857 defined as “a description of prostitutes or of prostitution, as a matter of public hygiene”. But by 1864, the first version of the modern definition had appeared in Webster’s Dictionary: Licentious painting employed to decorate the wall of rooms sacred to bacchanalian orgies, examples of which exist in Pompeii. This was the beginning of what today refers to explicit pictures in general. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com). But as development and technological advancements expanded, production and distribution of pornography expanded as well; from mere care paintings, to pictures (photographs), to printing (newspapers and magazines), to electronic projections (radio, television and film)and to the latest, the internet.
Hornby (2000:903), defined pornography “as books, videos, etc. that describe or show naked people and sexual acts in order to make people feel sexually excited, especially in a way many other people find offensive”. There are “writings, pictures, films etc. intended primarily to arouse sexual desire”. (Geddes & Groset, 2007:209). In other words it can be said to be books, magazines, films, and others with no artistic values, which describes or shows sexual acts or naked people in a way that it is intended to be considered unpleasant or offensive to other people.
Okunna (1994:88), in her own definition of pornography or Obscenity states that:
“Under the Obscenity Act of 1961, an article shall be deemed obscene for the purpose of the Act if its effect, taken as a whole, is such as to deprave, and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.” “Article”, according to the Act, is defined “as anything capable of being or likely to be looked at or read and includes any film or record of a picture or picture and any sound recording”.
However, the exact definition of pornography (obscenity) has changed over time; and so are the issues involved in delving into its effects, as everyone’s perception is based on one part of the divide (positive and negative) he belongs to. That is the major reason why written papers or literature etc. on this phenomenon seems not to be focused and non-cohesive. Ninety-nine percent (99%) of the written ones are mostly from the foreign (western) Authors, experts etc. As Potter Stewart, a one time Supreme Court of Justice, USA (United States of America); famously observed,
“I can’t define it (Obscenity) but I know it when I see it”. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com).

Dominick (2007:361) states:
“Obscenity is not protected by the first Amendment; that much is clear. Unfortunately, nobody has yet come up with a definition of obscenity that satisfies everybody.”

To further stress the nature of the phenomenon under study, Merton & Nisbet (1976:14) asserts:
“Though it is clear that Contemporary Industrial Societies are shifting away from the old standards, it is not clear where they are heading to. While the Under-developed Countries have familiar problems, the Industrial Countries are moving in unprecedented directions and experiencing unparallel problems”.

Furthermore, one development is the rising skepticism and dissension concerning sex rules themselves. Pornography is widely condemned, yet blatantly promoted by Commercial interests. Premarital sex is viewed by many as evil and by many as a good thing; Nudity is regarded by some as obscene and by other as wholesome; so also is Abortion, which is seen as both the solution to a problem and a problem itself. With the consensus of what the problems are, the argument over the means of solving them are as pointless as they are bitter. Efforts are however made by the researcher to draw a common trend from all these scattered facts towards providing a concrete exploration of the problems.
Before one can attempt to solve a problem, it is wise to ask oneself some critical questions. In this case, it is quite important to ask; what are the reasons for pornography? What are its effects and implications? What is the societal point of view about it? What has the government done so far? And probably or possibly, what is the way out?
The basic reasons for pornography and the power behind its enduring ever growing existence; are not far fetched. First, from its definition as “an explicit depiction of sexual subject matter, especially with the intension of sexually exciting the viewer”; so, it is meant to sexually excite its viewer. People then assume it as the normal trend of life, since they have been created by nearly every civilization, both ancient and modern.
Second, early cultures often associated the sexual act with supernatural forces and thus their religion are inter-twined with such depictions e.g. in Countries such as India, Nepal, Sir Lanka, Japan and China; representations of sex and erotic art have specific spiritual meanings with the native religions of Hinduism, Buddhism, Shinto and Taoism. Even, the Greeks and Romans produced much art and decoration of an erotic nature, much of it integrated with their religious beliefs and cultural practices.
Furthermore, pornography has proven to be a hug source of economic empowerment to any country, especially since the invention of moving pictures (films). Serving as sources of employment and income, revenues of the adult industry in the United States for instance, it has been difficult to determine. In 1970, a Federal Study estimated that the total retail value of all the hardcore porn in the US was no more than $10million. In 1998, Forrester Research published a report on the online “Adult Content” Industry estimating $750 million to $1billion in annual revenue. As an un-sourced aside, the Forrester Study speculated on an Industry-wide aggregate figure of $8-10billion which was reported out of content in many new stories, after being published in Eric Schlosser’s book on the American Underground Economy. Also, studies in 2001 put the total (including video, pay-per view, internet and magazine) between $2.6billion and $3.9billion. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com).
“Adult” entertainment on the internet is the third largest sector of sales, surpassed only by computer products and travel. Playboy’s web site, which offers free teaser shots of its playmates, average 5million hits per day”. (Surette, 1994).
However, apart from the three stated reasons above, they must lay other thousands of reasons for pornography; may be due to the moral decadence which has risen because of the society’s propagation of sexual freedom, as a source of relaxation and a stress reduction, also seen as a source of sex education, etc. No matter what reasons; how has it be regulated especially by the Government, so as not to have escalated to what it is today, and what are its effects and implications?
The individual diverse notions or views about the concept have given it billions of interpretations. Over the years, the debate still stands, if pornography is a negative development in societal growth or not and if there are adverse effects of it on the society.
As stated earlier in this chapter, research into the effects of obscene and pornographic materials (films) are not straight forward; there are many experts, scholars, critics and activists who stand on both sides of the divide.
“Berger et al in Cottle et al (1989:303) states that “Pornography has emerged in recent years as one of the hotly contested social issues and one that has divided the feminists’ community in the United States.” Cottle et al (1989) continued that “Radical Feminists and religious fundamentalists have decried the harm caused by pornography and have proposed various, though differing political and legal remedies.”

According to a three year research conducted by the Commission of Obscenity and Pornography (1970), on the impact of such materials, the writing of the Commission’s Report was immersed in many political considerations and was unable to issue a unanimous statement. Nonetheless, the research findings are of interest as they stated that most frequent users of pornography wee middle class and middle aged-males. They further stated that they found no evidence to indicate that viewing pornography was related to anti-social or deviant behaviours and attitudes.
The Commission went on; that pornographic materials served positive functions in some healthy sexual relationships. The majority of this Commission went so far to make the politically unpopular recommendations that all laws prohibiting the sale of these materials to adults should be repeated.
This view was opposed by Richard Nixon (xxxvii President of the United States: 1969-1974) on October 24, 1970: stated in (Wolley & Peters, 2008);
“I am well aware of the importance of protecting freedom of expression. But pornography is to freedom of expression what anarchy is to liberty; as free men willingly restrain a measure of their freedom to prevent anarchy, so must we draw the line against pornography to protect freedom of expression”.

He further opined that as the Commission contends “that the proliferation of filthy books and plays has no lasting harmful effects on a man’s character. If there were true, it must also be true that great books, great paintings and great plays have no ennobling effects on a man’s conducts”. “Pornography can corrupt a society and a civilization, American morality is not to be trifled with, the Commission on Pornography and Obscenity has performed a disservice, and I totally reject this report”, he concludes, (Wolley & Peters, 2008).
As years rolled into decades, pornography became more abundant and extreme; a New National Commission on Pornography and Obscenity was appointed in 1984, which released its report in 1986. Surrounded by the political consideration, they concluded that pornography was harmful and that its distribution should be curtailed; (Commission of Obscenity and Pornography, 1981:13). Additional studies in the kid 1980’s found a disturbing link between exposure to pornography and feeling of callousness toward women; through an experiment where College Students were divided into three groups: one group saw thirty-six erotic films over a period of six weeks, the second saw eighteen erotic and eighteen non-erotic films over the same period, while the third group saw thirty-six non-erotic films. After the period, all groups were questioned concerning their attitudes toward pornography, rape and women in general. The group that received the heaviest dose of pornography was less likely to think that pornography was offensive, had less compassion for women as rape victims and was less supportive of women’s right than other groups; (New National Commission on Obscenity and Pornography, 1986:10).
Malamuth (1984:12) in his book “Pornography and Sexual Aggression” asserts that:
“Thirty percent (30%) of pornographic movies and ten percent (10%) of pornographic magazines convey a message of brutal neglect of women and children as part of the human race”.

He further contends that “the distribution between reality and fantasy becomes smaller and violent pornography has a power influence in reinforcing aggressive attitudes in the audience that the actual indulgence in moral acts could be traced to culture and complicated social interactions especially among the youths; As cultural factors create the potential in many people especial the youths to indulge in immoral or violent acts”; (Malamuth, 1984:13).
He went on to say that “certain aspects of an individual with an anti-social personality, difficult home background or inability to come with certain types of stress; many take the potential to translate it to an actual act”. And that “in a healthy culture, where people are availed of sex education and sound family background, violent pornography would not have the same influence as in a culture where sex education is considered as a taboo”. Actually, Malamuth is trying to explain that any culture that prohibits sex education indirectly encourages information on sex matters through pornography which is a good source of sexual information.
Pornography being a special kind of media content; people show great concern on its effects especially on the youths as expressed with more seriousness that the concern for the effects of the general mass media content. Just as Susie Bright in her book “Sex Wise” quoted in Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com; states that “it is a far different criticism to note that porn is sexist – so are all commercial media. That’s like tasting several glasses of salt water and insisting only one of them is salty. The (only) difference with porn is that it is people making love, and we live in a world that cannot tolerate that image….”
The reason is that effects of pornographic materials are generally viewed in terms of their potential impact on societal, moral, juvenile delinquency and incidences of sex related crimes like rape, prostitution, murder, and physical dangers associated with promiscuity like sex transmitted diseases (STDs), unwanted pregnancies and personal stress.

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Foley & Pastore (1989) states:
“While no one can consider himself or herself immune to the corrupting effects of pornography and violence or safe from injury at the hands of those acting under the influence, the young and the immature are especially vulnerable and the most likely to be victimized. Pornography and sadistic violent debase sexuality, corrode human relationships, exploit individuals – especially women and young people, undermine marriage and family life, foster anti-social behaviour and weaken the moral fiber of society itself.”
Ironically, adolescents are more readily exposed to explicit pornography on television. Research findings indicate that children between the ages of twelve and seventeen year globally (Nigeria not excluded) have the greatest interest in matters that are related to pornography since they are good at practicing what they see. Therefore, it is not surprising that incidents of unwanted pregnancies and its resultant abortion have increased over the years, as Wohl (1989:15) in Malamuth (1984) states that “pornography like sewage bleeds into everything it touches”.
The views on the effects of pornography vary deeply from individual to individual and from experts to experts. Due to these variations, there rose some experts who called themselves the Anti-Pornography Movement – which is a term used to describe those ho argue that pornography has a variety of harmful effects, such as encouragement of human trafficking, desensitization, pedophilia, dehumanization, exploitation, sexual dysfunction, and inability to maintain healthy sexual relationships. Many of those involved in the anti-pornography movement come from religious groups, feminists, and individuals who feel that pornography plays a major role in the breakdown of their marriages and relationships.
Dolf Zillmann asserts that extensive viewing of pornographic material produces many sociological effects which he characterizes as unfavourable, including a decreased respect for long-term monogamous relationships, and an attenuated desire for procreation. He describes the theoretical basis of these experimental findings:
“The values expressed in pornography clash so obviously with the family concept, and they potentially undermine the traditional values that favour marriage, family, and children… Pornographic scripts dwell on sexual engagements of parties who have just met, who are in no way attached or committed to each other, and who will part shortly, never to meet again… Sexual gratification in pornography is not a function of emotional attachment, of kindness, of caring and especially not of continuance of the relationship, as such continuance would translate into responsibilities, curtailments and costs…” (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com).

Additional, some researchers claim that pornography causes unequivocal harm to society by increasing rates of sexual assault, a line of research which has been critiqued in “The effects of pornography: An International Perspective” on external validity grounds, while others claim there is a correlation between pornography and a decrease of sex crime, an issue discussed further in Public Health Effects of Pornography. But against this view, some researchers disputed that there is no form of addiction caused by pornography; even that many people who regularly watch pornography still lead productive lives. The critics agued that people who regularly view pornography are able to have normal relationship and desensitized to less stimulating materials.
There are different views held by different societies about this phenomenon. In Nigeria, the increase in the rate at which pornographic materials (especially pornographic films) infiltrate into the country over the years has been a total bad ordeal. Some say it is the order of the day following the trend of technological development of this 21st century, while others frown at it.
Ogunsiji (1989:152) opines that;
“What is actually obscene in modern-day Nigeria is very difficult to what used to be a taboo subject or obscene publication about ten years ago is no longer frowned at by our law enforcement agents.”
In churches and mosques, many Reverends and Imams have strongly agitated at the rate which our children are secretly exposed to pornography. Some blame the peer group associations, while others lay the blame on the film producers in the country especially the home videos, which come in Compact Disc (CDs), DVDs and worst of all, the coming of the Internet (World Wide Web: WWW).
Among the religious objections on pornography is the religious conservatives such as Jerry Fahwell, whose views are based on the religious-moral grounds. They say sex is reserved for heterosexual married couples, to be used in accordance with God’s Will and assert that use of pornography involves indulgence in lust (which in Christianity is a sin) and leads to an overall increase in sexually immoral behaviour. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Mamma.com).
Gordon B. Hinckley, former President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was also well known within the faith for expounding the Church’s sentiments against pornography. He said:
“it is like a raging storm; destroying individuals and families, utterly ruining what was one wholesome and beautiful…… suffice it to say that all who are involved become victims. Children are exploited and their lives are severely damaged. The mind of youths become warped with false concepts, continued exposure leads to addiction that is most impossible to break. Men, so very many find they cannot leave it alone. Their energies and their interests are consumed in their dead-end pursuit of the raw and sleazy fare”. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com).
Section 2354 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church states:
“Pornography consists in removing real or simulated sexual acts from the intimacy of the partners, in order to display them deliberately to third parties. It offends against chastity because it perverts the conjugal act, the intimate giving of spouses to each other. It does grave injury to the dignity of its participants (actors, vendors and the public), since each one becomes an object of base pleasure and illicit profit for others. It immerses all who are involved in the illusion of fantasy world. It is a grave offense – Civil Authorities should prevent the production and distribution of pornographic materials”. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com).
Though the Torah (Jewish written law) has a great many prohibitions of about sexual behaviours, pornography is not specifically mentioned. However, the Tzniut requires Jewish women to be covered from ankle to wrist (thereby forbidding pornographic modeling or acting for women). The Halakhah states that sexually arousing images are to be avoided.

The Qur’an 24:31 states:
“And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and keep covered their private parts, and that they should not show-off their beauty, except what is apparent, and let them cast their shawis over their cleavage. And let them not show-off their beauty except to their husbands….” (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com).
Christianity also condemns both the production and use of pornography. Jesus states:
“Ye have heard that it was said, Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, that every one that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28).
In the first verse Jesus is quoting the Torah (Exodus 20:14), reminding his Jewish listeners that adultery is forbidden. He goes on to remind them that looking at a woman lustfully is also sinful conduct. The seriousness of the actual commission of adultery is seen in Leviticus 20:10;
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulteress shall surely be put to death.”
Some Feminists such as Diana Russell, Andrea Dworkin, Catharine MacKinnon, Susan Brownmiller, etc. argue that pornography is degrading to women and complicit in violence against women both in its production (where, they charge, abuse and exploitation of women performing in pornography is rampant) and its consumption (where they charge, pornography eroticizes the domination, humiliation and coercion of women) and reinforces sexual and cultural attitudes that are complicit in rape and sexual harassment. But some Feminists distinguish between pornography and erotica, which they say does not have the same negative effects of pornography. However, many Third-wave Feminists disagree with this critique of porn, claiming that appearing in or using pornography can be explained as each individual woman’s choice, and is not guided by socialization in a capitalist patriarchy.
Other Feminists that supported the unregulated access to pornography; of which some described themselves as the Sex-Positive Feminists went ahead to criticize the anti-pornography activism. They took a wide range of views toward existing pornography: some viewed the growth of pornography as a crucial part of the sexual revolution which they said has contributed to women’s liberation; others view the existing pornography industry as misogynist and rife with exploitation, but hold that pornography could be and sometimes is feminist, and proposes to reform or radically alter the pornography industry rather than opposing it wholesome. They typically oppose the theory of anti-pornography feminism… which they accuse of selective handling of evidence, and sometimes of being prudish or as intolerant of sexual difference… and also the political practice of anti pornography feminism… which characterized as censorship and accuse of complicity with conservative defense of the sexual status quo. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia; 2008: Google.com).
In addition to expressing concerns about violating sexual morality, some religions take an anti-pornography stance claiming that viewing pornography is addictive, leading to self-destructive behaviour. Proponents of this view compare pornography addiction to alcoholism, both in asserting the seriousness of the problem and in developing treatment methods.
The Nigerian Government has banned many home video films that are pornographic in nature, particularly, “The Princess Must Dance Naked”, “The Glamour Girls”, etc. and have condemned the showing of such films in the night without being censored. Nowadays, our youths learn faster but unfortunately, they learn with the fastest speed those things that are bound to compromise or jeopardize their moral values. And one of the reasons for this misbehavior among our youths should be blamed on the parents who have created a communication gap between them and their children. For it is their responsibility to bridge this gap, to ensure a healthy development of the youths as the agents of social control. If drastic measures are not taken to check the influx of these pornographic films into the country; even some of the television shows or programmes like “the Big Brother Africa”, etc. our youths who have great libido for it may waste their youths in immorality. A healthy nation is said to be a wealthy nation; therefore, our youths ought to or rather should be healthy socially, culturally and morally.
“Thus, on of the clear effects of pornography is sin. Willing participation in the production or distribution of these noxious products can only be judged a serious moral evil. Likewise, production and dissemination of these materials could not continue if there were not a market for them, so those who use such materials not only do moral harm to themselves but contribute to the continuation of a nefarious trade.” (Foley & Pastore, 1989).
Basically, the known efforts of the Government through history in terms of addressing the effects of pornography especially during the 1990s and 2000s, following the inventions of motion pictures (films) and the internet has been through censorship; apart from hiding it from the public expect to the Upper Class Scholars in the 1970s and 1980s.
Censorship is the act of examining letters, books, periodicals, plays, films, and so on in order to cut out everything regarded as immoral or undesirable. As a matter of fact, it is important in this study to know for example, the extent the Government has been able to suppress pornography. To what extent she has enforced relevant laws to guide media contents in both the private and government owned media, even on the internet? Etc.
In view of these questions above, it will be helpful to review some efforts of other Country’s’ Government and finally by the Nigerian Government through the years to this point.
In the United States (US), a 1969 Supreme Court decision which held that people could view whatever they wished in the privacy of their homes or houses caused Congress to fund and President Lydon B. Johnson to appoint a Commission to study pornography. In 1970, the Presidential Commission on Obscenity and Pornography concluded that “there was insufficient evidence that exposure to explicit sexual materials played significant role in the causation of delinquent or criminal behaviour”. Followed by the final report of Edwin Messe, the US Attorney General’s Commission on Pornography (referred to as the Messe Report) in July 1980 with 1,960 pages; the court had to loosen the legal restrictions on Pornography. The distribution of “Obscene” materials in the United States is a Federal Crime, which the determination of what is obscene is up to a jury in a trial, which must apply the Miller Test; however, due to the prominence of pornography in most communities most pornographic materials are not considered obscene by the Miller Test. (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com).
In the United Kingdom, possession of pornography has never been an offense except for Child Pornography; but in 2006, the UK Government announced plans to criminalize possession of “Extreme Pornography” punishable by 3 years in jail. The British Government exerts a much greater degree of control over pornography than is common in other countries. Hardcore material was not legalized until 2000, almost 30 years after the US and the rest of Europe. Filmed material still has to be certified by the British Board of Film Classification in order to be legally supplied. And it makes the UK’s media one of the most regulated democracies.
Down to Africa, the South African Government is reviewing the Films and Publication Act, which prohibits both virtual and Child Pornography. The recent submission process, which involved discussion between members of the public, non-governmental organizations and members of parliament, was recorded by the Parliamentary Monitoring Group – Committee on Obscenity and Film Censorship, better known as the Williams Committee: a British Home Office Committee chaired by Professor Benard Williams, which reviews the laws concerning obscenity, indecency and violence in publication, displays, arranges film censorship and entertains in England and Wales.
Now back home to Nigeria, the efforts by our Government are very insignificant. Though she made some little efforts in the late 1990s and early 2000 to cub the production and distribution of such materials, even in the internet; no satisfactory outcome, all have gone back to the way they were. There is no strong Act or Agencies to fight against pornography. The efforts of the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) to curtail or put to end the airing of such films on the screens of our televisions has not really yielded the desired outcome, if it has for e.g. why is “The Big Brother African Show” etc. still in existence till date. It would rather be a thing of joy if the National Communication Commission (NCC) in collaboration with the Government and other important Agencies would put more glue to their elbows to regulate obscenity or pornography in our society.
It is said that; there is no problem without a solution. Therefore, there are things which could be done to keep the influx of pornographic films and other pornographic materials into our dear country to its barest minimum.
The NIPOST (Nigerian Postal Services) should be strict in checking mails received into the country either in the form of books, magazines, photographs or pamphlets.
The National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should ensure that programmes featured on our television medium are perfectly scrutinized before its presentations to the public.
The Federal Government Agencies should on their own part, gird their loins to make sure they regulate and censor all pornographic materials (especially in the form of films) that come into the country.
The homes (parents) should play their own role as an important agent of moral and cultural training for the youths through inculcating cultural identity to help the adolescents reach a mature form of emotional development, when they can construct logical hierarchy of values that would guide their conducts. And also help them to realize the qualities of leadership, fellowship and service they owe to the nation.
Now is the best time to scout out for talents among the Nigerian Youths with the view to harnessing their potentials, get them busy with meaningful activities to help check the alarming rate of drug addiction, smoking, sex abuse, cultism, rape, prostitution, homosexuality, lesbianism and other vices which are some of the manifestations of the level of psychological frustration an social dilemma among our youths.

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This chapter discussed and summarized the major findings of the study in relation to the stated objectives in chapter one; reviewed the literature, drew conclusion and some recommendations were given to serve as suggestions for further studies.
The argument on pornography (pornographic films and other sexually explicit materials) is like the “holy war” among different critics and experts on this genre. Notwithstanding the sides of the arguments; it is obvious from this study that pornographic films exist; the majority of the youths watch pornographic films; used as sources of sex education as Malamuth (1984) observed in his study on the effects of pornography on the society that “in a health culture where people are not availed of sex education and sound family background, violent pornography will not influence them like in a culture where sex education is considered as a taboo”.
Though as old as civilization and its importance to some religions; parents have tremendously declined in their core duty of getting the youths properly informed through enhanced communication link between the parents and the youths. The parents should keep the youths informed, monitor and know whom their friends (peers) are; transfer the core norms, values and culture of their society, so as them (the youths), be able to transfer it down to the future generation youths who will keep the ball rolling.
As this study reveals, that pornographic films really affect the youths since they also serve as sources of relaxation and hobby to them; it is therefore time for all hands to keep the youths busy through “total talent hunting and total talent utilization”. While the Government on their own part should do what they have to do to make sure that Nigerian society is free from sexually explicit materials; especially pornographic films which are very universal and highly promoted by the technological development of this 21st century; which is one of the findings of this study.
Again, since the youths derive satisfaction from watching pornographic films because it makes them feel fulfilled as this study unfolded; and as humans as they are, they would continue to watch such films (pornographic films) just to maintain that satisfaction; then the effects become very inevitable. Like Richard Nixon (XXXVII President of the United States: 1969 – 1974) said about the Commission of Obscenity and Pornography’s report on the effects of pornography; “pornography can corrupt a society and a civilization, American morality is not to be trifled with, the Commission of Pornography and Obscenity has performed a disservice, and I totally reject this report”, (Wolley & Peter, 2008).
The morals of the youths therefore, remain at risk. Just as Dolf Zillman asserts that extensive viewing of pornographic materials produces many sociological effects which he characterized as unfavourable, including a decreased respect for long-term, monogamous relationships, and an attenuated desire for procreation; (Wikipedia Encyclopedia, 2008: Google.com). But against this view, some researchers disputed that there is no form of addiction caused by pornography; even that many people who regularly watch pornography still lead productive lives. The critics agued that people who regularly view pornography are able to have normal relationship and desensitized to less stimulating materials. Utmost steps should be taken in order to save the Nigerian youths and the Nigerian society in general; as Richard Nixon (XXXVII President of the United States: 1969 – 1974); “….. Pornography is to freedom of expression, what anarchy is to liberty ……” (Wolley & Peters; 2008).
Studies have been carried out through the years by different researchers and experts on the effects of pornography (pornographic films and other sexual explicit materials) on the youths and have concluded that pornography has both negative and positive effects on the youths.
No matter the side of the divide you are; it is self-evident that the majority of the findings of the researchers are on the negative effects. However, though pornographic films have educational values; do not necessarily affect the youths’ level of intelligence; exist because it is as old as civilization and it religious importance to some religions; that the youths watch them because it is the normal trend of today’s society, because they derive satisfaction and feels fulfilled as the results of the findings of this study revealed. It is still extremely important that parents especially take absolute care of the youths in order to avail or protect them from the adverse (negative and harmful) effects of pornographic films to make a better men and women of Nigerian’s future society.
The following recommendations are given by the researcher to help in cubing the effects (especially the negative effects) of pornographic films on the youths and makes suggestions for further studies in relation to this study.
Parents as the head of every family should assist the youths to lead good lives by inculcating in them the norms and values of better citizens and also help bridging the communication gap between them and the youths.
Government and its agencies should on their own part exercise more power through extensive censorship on the importations and distributions of explicit sexual materials into our dear country, Nigeria.
There should be campaign on sexual education of the youths, encouraged by private bodies and non-governmental agencies to avoid or stop the youths from having secret knowledge of sex, maybe to their own detriment.
National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) should screen every programme before it is aired and ban some television shows either on cable or not that carry pornographic contents.
Youths on their own should select or choose their friends (peers) intelligently. Good friends are like diamonds, but “bad friends corrupt good manners”.
A more elaborate research should be taken to bring more knowledge on the effects of pornographic films on the Nigerian youths. Perhaps, such work could yield a different or similar result from the current study.
Studies like this should be undertaken in bigger towns or cities in Nigeria as the results of the findings could be significant to educate the youths on the effects of pornography as broader views could emanate from such studies and probably curb it.
Studies should also be conducted on the “Exposure of Pornographic Media and Teenagers’ Sexual Orientation”, as they (the teenagers) are very vulnerable and are the younger youths.
The youths should read motivational and better educative books and view educative films (e.g. documentary films etc.) in order to help build their intelligent quotient and make them better citizens of every society.
Knowing fully well that they are the leaders and parents of future’s youths; the youths should learn to occupy their time with fruitful activities, imbibing the traditions, norms, values and cultures of their society so as to pass it down to the younger generations.


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  1. charles leka says:

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