Louisiana’s Bold Action to Protect Minors From Porn

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Here’s a good news story to start off 2023: In Louisiana, it’s now harder for minors to access porn sites. 

 Thanks to a law passed in 2022 that went into effect Jan. 1, porn sites now are required to ask visitors who live in Louisiana to prove their age via a system, called LA Wallet, that relies on using their driver’s license. The law puts in place various safeguards to ensure that porn sites can’t keep data from driver’s licenses. 

Admittedly, tech-savvy minors can (and probably will) find ways around this law. But anything that keeps porn out of the hands of minors is a great step forward in our porn-sick era, where smartphones allow teens and tweens to easily and secretly view explicit content that is sure to warp their burgeoning sexuality.  

Just consider the case of pop singer Billie Eilish, now 21, who revealed in an interview on “The Howard Stern Show” that she started watching porn around the age of 11. 

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“I think it really destroyed my brain and I feel incredibly devastated that I was exposed to so much porn,” the singer behind hits such as “Bad Guy” and “Male Fantasy” said in 2021. 

Eilish said her porn use led to nightmares and affected her sexual desires and imagination.  

“It got to a point where I couldn’t watch anything else unless it was violent; I didn’t think it was attractive,” Eilish recalled, noting that at that point, she was still a virgin.  

In time, her viewing of porn affected her sex life: “The first few times I, you know, had sex, I was not saying no to things that were not good. It was because I thought that’s what I was supposed to be attracted to.” 

Is this what we want for kids and teens? Nightmares? Warped sexual desires? Agreeing to problematic sex?  

In fact, Eilish’s remarks directly inspired Louisiana state Rep. Laurie Schlegel, who introduced the legislation requiring age verification, according to an interview Schlegel gave. 

Schlegel, a Republican, also specifically cited the nature of porn online today as a factor. “I don’t think a lot of parents know what’s on the internet,” she told USA Today. 

 “I always like to tell people: ‘This is not your daddy’s Playboy. What kids are seeing on the internet is extremely, extremely graphic, hardcore pornography,” she added. 

Eilish is far from alone.  

“The average age of first pornography exposure is between 11 and 12 years old,” Amanda Giordano, a counselor and author of “A Clinical Guide to Treating Behavioral Addictions,” wrote in Psychology Today. 

Seeing porn as a minor can have lifelong consequences.  

“Those who had compulsive porn habits reported having first viewed online porn at age 13, compared with members of the control group, who had first seen it at 17,” reported The Wall Street Journal’s Julie Jargon, citing 2014 research from Valerie Voon, a psychiatry professor at the University of Cambridge. 

“In the more than two decades I that have been working with hundreds of men and women trying to overcome pornography addiction, I have met only one who did not first start using pornography as a child,” writes John Fort, director of training at Be Broken Ministries, at the website Covenant Eyes, which promotes software that helps with accountability and blocking porn. 

 “Several studies show that when people are exposed to sexually explicit content during childhood or adolescence, they have a significantly higher risk of developing problematic pornography use later on,” Fort adds. “Similarly, studies find the younger a child is when first exposed to pornography, the greater their consumption of pornography tends to be as adults.” 

Whatever your views on adults using porn, does anyone want this for kids and teens? 

Take the story of Alexander Rhodes, who like Eilish says he first saw porn around age 11 and whose experience shows how early porn exposure can lead to a compulsive habit. 

Rhodes was on a video games site when a pop-up ad showed a “depiction of simulated rape porn,” according to an interview that he gave to CNN in 2019. Rhodes began to look up images of women’s stomachs online and gradually began searching for increasingly more risqué images. 

 “I think I was addicted to porn almost within the first year of first seeing it. I mean, I was 12 years old and I was using it pretty much all day,” Rhodes said, adding that he would use porn to masturbate.  

It affected his life: In fifth, sixth, and seventh grades, he often would go home to watch porn rather than participate in extracurricular activities or go out with friends. 

Viewing porn also changed how he thought of women: “I think porn just took away all of the mystery of women, to the point where I just wasn’t really that interested in them anymore,” Rhodes recalled. 

“Originally, I was like, yeah, I wanna go on dates and stuff. But when I started getting heavily into porn, I just—I was good. You know, I had porn, I don’t need that.” 

As an adult, Rhodes founded a site, NoFap, designed to help porn addicts achieve recovery. 

But wouldn’t it be better if adults never developed a porn problem in the first place? 

Louisiana may be starting a trend. Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, last month introduced legislation, dubbed the SCREEN Act, that would force porn sites to verify the ages of site visitors before showing content.  

 “Given the alarming rate of teenage exposure to pornography, I believe the government must act quickly to enact protections that have a real chance of surviving First Amendment scrutiny,” Lee said in a prepared statement. 

 “We require age verification at brick-and-mortar shops. Why shouldn’t we require it online?” 

Lee makes a fair point—and one that more Americans should consider. In the meantime, let’s hope that at least the kids in one state will have better lives (and childhoods) because of this legislative action. 

Have an opinion about this article? To sound off, please email letters@DailySignal.com and we’ll consider publishing your edited remarks in our regular “We Hear You” feature. Remember to include the url or headline of the article plus your name and town and/or state.

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