FILED IN: Health

Study: Pornography linked to mental illness in children

British study claims there is a link between pornography viewing and mental illness in children. Photo via sgback at SXC Photo

British researchers at London’s Portman clinic, a National Health Survey (NHS) outpatient psychotherapy clinic, have found usage of pornography in 26.5 percent of its young patients.  The Sun has reported that it has risen dramatically from less than one percent in the late 90s.

The researchers are claiming there is a link between mental illness and pornography usage.

Prime Minister David Cameron revealed the figures on Sunday when he signalled his support for a web clampdown on extreme images.

According to The Express Tribune, a Parliamentary report led by Tory MP Claire Perry has called for a web porn ban on all computers – unless adults “opt in”.  The report found that up to 27 percent of boys access pornography weekly.

Cameron told MPs that he had urged internet firms “to look at offering a choice of blocking adult content”.

Research by the ExtremeTech website has discovered that a massive 30 percent of all internet traffic is pornography.  To put this in perspective, reports that the biggest pornography website on the Internet has about 4.4 billion page views and 350 million unique visits each month.  That is just one website.

However, the Deccan Chronicle reports that according to Swarnlatha Iyer, head of the psychology department at Christ University, watching pornography cannot be defined as an illness. “You can’t call it an illness. Addiction leading to abnormal behaviour in adults is more like it. And then again, illness in this case is not of physical but mental nature,” she said. The abnormal behaviour, as Iyer points out, leads to withdrawal symptoms, fatigue and a tendency to be anti-social. “So, if you are a young adult and addicted to porn, you’ll avoid hanging out with friends as all you would want to do is switch on the computer. Among married couples, viewing online porn leads mostly to disastrous results and is never considered as a healthy indulgence,” she added, as reported by the Deccan Chronicle.

Pornography is more accessible now than in the 90s, as more households have computers and devices with high speed Internet connections.  The reports did not indicate whether the number of cases of mental illness in children has risen along with the accessiblity of pornography.