Porn debated on Radio 4

Posted: April 21, 2012

A new book by former escort Dr Brooke Magnanti, better known by her nom de plume Belle du Jour, argues that the sex and porn industries in Britain face debate founded on myth, manipulated statistics and inconclusive research.

An Friday the 20th of April Dr Magnanti told the Radio 4 Today programme’s Sarah Montague that her book ‘The Sex Myth: Why Everything We’re Told is Wrong’ questions whether we know enough about the real effects of pornography to make a judgement on its impact. “I think that when we look at the evidence that’s coming from the academic community… the intellectually honest thing to say is that we don’t yet know what the effects might be, and certainly parents have the right and the responsibility to be concerned about their children,” she stated.

During the programme she said the problem with porn are overstated “to the point that we expect the government to do something about it, rather than give parents guidance and tools to give age-appropriate relationship and sex education.”

Her comments come in the same week as a report commissioned by MPs concluded that ISPs should do more to help parents prevent their children from viewing age-inappropriate material.

Dr Magnanti claimed the report’s conclusions are like suggesting “a giant on/off switch for porn on the Internet” is needed, adding, “which really isn’t going to prevent these images continuing to circulate; the genie is out of the bottle. Parents are going to have to find themselves having the awkward conversations with their children. We we should be giving them a lot more support so families can make the decisions they need to make rather than a top down approach,” she concluded.

MP Claire Perry, who commissioned the report for the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection, argued that porn on the Internet is essentially “a social experiment that we’re rolling out without any sense of the consequences.” She said parents should be responsible for what their children access but Internet filters are technologically obsolete, especially with many under 18s accessing the net via their mobile phones. Only 40% of households apply the web filters anyway and the younger generation, she said, “are more educated, more tech savvy and more online than their parents”.

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