From APP executive director Terry Schilling’s op-ed in The American Conservative:

Pornography has been a hot topic in the news recently, and not just because of coronavirus. Over the past several months, there has been a growing chorus of leaders calling for an increasingly out-of-control porn industry to finally be held accountable. And as more evidence comes in, it could not be clearer that porn use is indeed out of control.

The statistics are alarming. Pornography is now more available and popular than ever in history, thanks in large part to the internet. In 2018, the world’s largest porn site registered an average of 92 million visits per day and 5.5 billion hours viewed over the course of the year. In addition to adults, it is making its way into the hands of ever younger viewers: studies have found that large majorities of today’s young adults first encountered porn as adolescents, and that about half of college-aged males first viewed porn before age 13. And the porn of today is far more graphic and violent than in the past: one analysis of online porn content found that 43 percent contained what was characterized as “visible aggression.”

It should be no surprise then that more leaders are becoming concerned, and indeed, the Department of Justice has now received a number of letters urging action on the issue. In December, four Members of Congress signed a public letter calling for Attorney General William Barr to enforce existing obscenity law. In January, Professor Robert George of Princeton University sent his own letter calling for the same. Meanwhile, behind the scenes, several conservative groups (including my own, the American Principles Project) have actively pushed DOJ to do more to protect children from online pornography.

Barr, for his part, is clearly sympathetic to efforts to protect children and crack down on the porn industry. In a January interview with the Jewish Press, he conceded, “Any young kid surfing the Internet today can come across some gross stuff, and so-called parental controls aren’t really working.”

However, Barr went on to imply that the DOJ doesn’t have the adequate tools to take on this fight and that self-regulation by the private sector or legislation from Congress would likely be required.

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Read the full op-ed here.

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