Simplifying Science

Social Media in the Flesh

Last year, the venerable Dolly Klock and I had the good fortune of getting to know Gail Dines. Dolly and I took turns speaking alongside Gail — actually, it was more like in advance of Gail, since we viewed our task as one of introducing Gail’s massive subject matter, porn, by framing it in child development. During one advance phone call, Gail wanted to pick our brains on the intersection of her field and ours. Almost simultaneously, Dolly and I both went haywire about porn on social media. It was a tirade, and Gail heard us loud and clear. She proceeded to wrap the information into her talk and, over the past several months, Gail has taken a deep dive into this issue. Now she’s got a diatribe of her own... and answers for parents about how to handle the new porn-meets-social-media frontier.

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Pornography today is not your father’s Playboy. Instead of reaching under the mattress to score a magazine of naked women with coy smiles, teenagers are just a few phone swipes away from hard-core videos in which women are sexually abused and humiliated. Porn is now more affordable, accessible, and violent than ever before, and many boys are watching it as early as age 11 or 12. As one teen told researchers writing a report on kids and porn for the Office of the Children’s Commissioner in England, “Basically, porn is everywhere.”… READ MORE