The study was aimed at analysing the harmful impact of pornographic films alongside cyber bullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults, a case study of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. The survey research was used in this study to sample the opinion of respondents. This method involved random selection of respondent who were administered with questionnaires. The target population of the study comprised of students of selected departments in Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife. The questionnaire administered was one hundred and ten (110) copies and one hundred copies retrieved which constitute the sample size. The descriptive and analytical approach was adopted using Chi-square to test and analyze the hypotheses earlier stated. The findings revealed that there is a harmful impact of pornographic films, cyberbullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults and that there is a significant relationship between the kinds of activities that teenagers conduct on the internet and the likelihood of being cyberbullied. It was therefore concluded from the findings that social media reach allows consumers to create content in line with the firm's products and services. This study concludes that there was a high prevalence of Internet use among children and young persons. It also documented an association between frequent internet use and permissive sexual behaviour highlighting Internet use as a significant predictor of adolescent sexual behaviour. It was recommended that prevention programs (information programs for students, teachers and parents; counseling programs for adolescents) and in the community are another hopeful avenue for addressing sextortion, cyber-safety, teen dating violence, and related problems. Several programs aimed at middle and high school students are effective at reducing teen dating and other forms of youth interpersonal violence o help adolescents to face cyberbullying.
1.1 BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
On-line computer exploration opens a world of possibilities for children, expanding their horizons and exposing them to different cultures and ways of life which adds positively to their wealth of knowledge. On the other hand they can be exposed to dangers as they hit the road exploring the information highway. There are individuals who attempt to sexually exploit children and young adults through the use of on-line services and the internet. Some of these individuals gradually seduce their targets through the use of attention, affection, kindness, and even gifts. These individuals are often willing to devote considerable amounts of time, money and energy to this process. They listen to and empathize with the problems of children and attempt to gradually lower children's inhibitions by slowly introducing sexual context and content into their conversations. However, there are other individuals, who immediately engage in sexually explicit conversations with children; some offenders primarily collect and trade child-pornographic images, while others seek face-to-face meetings with children via online contacts. The emergence of this ugly trend on the internet where individuals effectively disseminate pornographic images or contents without considering the safety of children and young adultsin online is the central phenomenon which forms the basis for the present study. The internet provides new opportunities for creativity and self-determination but it is equally clear there is a real probability for children and young adults to be at risk by their exposure to materials and or individuals which may be harmful. The recent proliferation of internet-enabled technology has significantly changed the way young people encounter and consume sexually explicit material. Internet-enabled devices have indiscriminately allowed people of all ages to encounter, consume, create and distribute sexually explicit content (Owens et al., 2012).
In their contribution, (Markey & Markey, 2010) noted that it seems that the computer age has brought with it much greater access to pornographic material as indicated by the following statistics: on a daily basis, up to 25% (or 68 million) of all internet search engines request are for pornography. They added that pornography can be easily accessed by anyone with computer or a cell phone. Children and young adults who have access to internet have the likelihood of being exposed to pornographic materials, cyberbullying, sextortion and the likes. This argument can be validated by (Longe and Longe, 2015) when they observed from the finding of their study that children (7-18 years) may be excessively exposed to internet pornography due to their high percentage of internet usage. They revealed that there are reports in many parts of the world that young people are also “sexting‟ (sending sex related images) instead of, or in addition to texting. (Longe et al., 2017) postulated that the internet provides a hiding place for fraudsters who have simply migrated from the streets to an electronic platform. Anonymity has been an aid to most crimes perpetrated in cyberspace. For instance, immoral contents can be streamed from the closet on a laptop or palmtop without limit and both for the consumer or victim, the reservation that any other person will know about the content being consumed is also removed (Galbreath et al., 2012) opined that the internet has become a highly effective and profitable means of distributing sexually explicit materials, as well as a sophisticated channel for compulsive sexual behaviour, sex trafficking and sex crimes. National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC, 2011) in her study stated that there exist a growing trend by young people to take and share indecent photos, not only of themselves, but also of friends and partners on mobile phones. She highlighted that 38% of 11-17 years olds have received a sexually explicit or distressing text or email with 70% admitting they knew the sender. The result also revealed that 28% of teen girls have electronically posted images of themselves nude. Children are sometimes interested in and curious about sexuality and sexually explicit material. Because they may be curious, children sometimes use their online access to actively seek for pornography. The evidence can be deduced from study by (Cline, 2011) who indicated that children actively search for pornography on the internet by keying in on such words as sex, nudity, pornography, obscenity etc. then, once they have found how to access it, they go back again and again just like drug addicts. It is imperative to know that children can be victimize through conversation, i.e. social networking sites, instant messaging, email, as well as the transfer of sexually explicit information and material. There are cases of online predators that use the internet to gain access to young victims. The evidence of this is clear in the research conducted by (Wolak et al., 2017) upheld that much of the publicity about cases of online predators depicts online molesters who use the internet to lure children into sexual assaults. In the stereotypical media portrayal these online child molesters lurk in internet venues popular with children. They use information publicly divulged in online profile and social networking sites (SNS) to identify potential targets. They contact victims, using deception to cover up their ages and sexual intentions. Then they entice unknowing victims into meetings or stalk and abduct them. Online molesters use online communications to establish trust and confidence in their victims by introducing talk of sex, and then arranging to meet them in person for sexual encounters.
Cyberbullying has recently received significant attention in the press and at the legislative level (CTVNews, 2014; Davidson, 2013; Cooper et al, 2012). Defined as “an aggressive, intentional act or behavior carried out by a group or an individual, using electronic forms of contact, repeatedly and over time, against a recipient who is unable to easily defend him/herself,” (Smith et al, 2018, p376). cyberbullying provides individuals with themeans to extend face-to-face bullying to an online environment where actions can have instant, widespread, and permanent effects (Stanbrook, 2014). Because there is the possibility for the abuse to be spread by others and to continue online and because bullies may be able to maintain a higher degree of anonymity than in face-to-face encounters, there is concern that the intensity of cyberbullying is greater than that of traditional bullying (Stanbrook, 2014).
Sextortion is a recently established portmanteau of the words “sex” and “extortion.” Generally, extortion occurs when “one person takes advantage of another person against his or her will by means of threat of violence or threat of harm of any kind to the person” (Forsyth & Copes, 2014, p. 266). The harm can be physical (to them or their loved ones) or can target their property or reputation (Konrad & Skaperdas, 2018), typically involving blackmail (Lindgren, 2013; Shavell, 2013)—the threat of sharing damaging secret information, or ransom—where something of value is held until the victim fulfills a specified condition (Alix, 2018; Goldberg, 1986; Konrad & Skaperdas, 2017). A further distinction is typically made between extortion and fraud, where the former requires the use of threats to obtain a desired action, possession, or end, whereas the latter involves benefits gained through deception (Forsyth & Copes, 2014). The term sextortion has emerged to refer to those specific instances of extortion where one is threatening to disseminate sexually explicit images that have been acquired (voluntarily or not). Sexual Extortion of Children and young adults has gained notoriety despite the fact that it has recently emerged, and is also considered one of the most significant online threats to children in 2015 (Europol, 2015). Visibility of this offence is very low to law enforcement agencies because a relatively small number of victims and abusers are reported or caught.
In addition, (Wolak et al., 2017) explained that 89% of cases with face-to- face online sexual meetings, offenders have sexual intercourse, oral sex, or another form of penetrative sex with victims. Only 5% of meetings involved violent offenses, mostly rape or attempted rape, while 16% involved coercion (i.e. victims were pressured into having sex or doing sexual things that they did not want to do). Some victims (40%) who attended face to face meeting were given illegal drug or alcohol, exposed to adult or child pornography (23% and 15% respectively), or photographed in sexual poses (21%). A few cases (3%) involved brief abductions that happened in the course of sexual assaults, and (29%) of victims were reported missing to police. Investigators described 24% of victims as runaways while 5% who were reported missing had lied about their whereabouts to their parents, often claiming to be spending a night or a weekend with a friend (Najat, 2019) explained that chats rooms have become one of the main means of luring minors into participating in pornographic films, having sexual relations and even abducting them. Supporting the afore state argument, United Nations Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF, 2011) concludes that the areas of cyberspace that enable abusers to groom potential victims include chat rooms, social networking sites and instant messaging. (Lewis et al., 2019) advocated that social networking websites, such as facebook, my space, and youTube, are often used by young person to harass their peers. Technology has made it possible for children to go online in the comfort and privacy of their homes. UNICEF (2011) expresses this view by reporting that the increasing use of internet-enabled “smartphones‟ for going online will limit the ability of parents to restrict, monitor or control what their children access and therefore will increase potential risks to children. UNICEF added that online forums such as chat-rooms, blogs, online gaming or social networking sites deconstruct traditional boundaries of privacy. Children engaged in “chat‟ or conversation in the private space of their own bedrooms can expose themselves wittingly or unwittingly, to an unknown worldwide audience, potentially increasing the risk harm. The internet is a valuable resource for information, research, discussion and entertainment, which offers people including children tremendous and unlimited opportunity and access. Many children are comfortable using computer and are fascinated by the information and images that can be explored at the click of a mouse. Children increasingly do not need to be in company of responsible adults in order to use a computer. Schools and homes are no longer the only places where children can go online. They can connect at a friend's house, a club, a library, or a cafe. In addition, technology is rapidly increasing the ways we access the web as smart phones and other handheld devices allow internet connections. Unfortunately, the internet has aspect that can be harmful to children and with the rate pornography is pervading the internet, the rate of harm has virtually exploded in volume. This research therefore seeks to ascertain the extent to which children are safe on the internet with regards to exposure to pornographic materials online.
1.2 STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
Potential offenders are able to gain enhanced access to victims and to child sexual abuse material through the use of ICTs, which increase their pool of potential victims, offer the opportunity of creating false identities, and facilitate the transmission of harmful content to children. Human traffickers may also recruit new victims, including children, and market child sex tourism through the use of ICTs. ICTs can deliver increased profits for criminal enterprises by markedly reducing the costs of production and distribution of child sexual abuse material. Human traffickers may also carry out their activities primarily, or even exclusively, via mobile phone. The use of mobile phones and the Internet further assists offenders in hiding their identities and obfuscating activities, thus reducing risk of detection. Increased levels of harm and re-victimization can occur through “layering” of crimes such as, for instance, when child sexual abuse material is produced, and then distributed and redistributed online. In addition, cyber-bullies may use public websites and social media to broaden their audience and increase the impact on victims. Ever-increasing levels of violence coupled with a continuously decreasing age of victims in child sexual abuse material have been observed. Increasingly large amounts of readily available online child sexual abuse material also serve to desensitize viewers, resulting in a demand for ever more extreme material. The use of ICTs affords unprecedented provision of social affirmation for offenders. Readily available child sexual abuse material online may create the false impression of social acceptability.
The problem is aggravated by the fact that parents and other caregivers often struggle with a lack of technological sophistication, making it difficult for them to make use of existing safety and privacy tools to protect their children and young adults and supervise their online activities. Even where parents have adequate technological knowledge, portable devices present a particular challenge to successful supervision and protection. A Research by Livingstone, Haddon, Görzig & Ólafsson, (2011) has found that 49 percent of children and young adult access the Internet from their bedrooms and 33 per cent use mobile devices.A recent threat assessment concerning child exploitation and sexual exploitation and abuse conducted by the United Kingdom Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center (CEOP, 2013) concluded that “direct parental supervision of children's Internet use is increasingly unfeasible.”
Undoubtedly, social scientists who are interested in the study of mass media particularly film effects have been involved in the efforts to find out the relationship 3 between media and anti-social behaviour like crime, violence, sexual behaviour perversion, abuse and rape. There has been series of research works which show that audio-visual media can be described as an all powerful, all pervasive and all manipulative medium capable of producing the most effective emotional reaction through the portrayal of pornography, violence and other immoral acts. This project is geared towards ascertaining if sexual crimes, perversion and abuse among the youths could be attributed to their exposure to pornographic films. Therefore, in which way can the viewing of pornographic materials be stopped?
1.3 OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
Generally, this research seeks to examine the harmful impact of pornographic films alongside cyber bullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults. Specifically, this study seeks:
- To examine the level of exposure of children and young adults to pornographic films.
- To determine the prevalence of internet addiction among children and young adults
- To examine the relationship of intended use of online activity with the frequency of cyberbullying incidence.
- To examine the harmful impact of pornographic films, cyberbullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults
- To assess the extent children and young adults practice behaviours acquired from viewing pornographic film.
- To determine the impact of sex on student use of internet for social networking;
- To make suggestions and recommendations on what can be done to stem the viewing of pornographic materials and internet addiction on children and young adults
1.4 RESEARCH QUESTIONS
- What is the level of exposure of children and young adults to pornographic films?
- How is the prevalence of internet addiction among children and young adults?
- Is there a relationship between the kinds of activities that teenagers conduct on the internet and the likelihood of being cyberbullied?
- What is the harmful impact of pornographic films, cyberbullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults?
- What are the extent children and young adults practice behaviours acquired from viewing pornographic film?
- What is the impact of sex on student use of internet for social networking?
- What are the suggestions and recommendations on what can be done to stem the viewing of pornographic materials and internet addiction on children and young adults?
1.5 RESEARCH HYPOTHESES
H1: There is no harmful impact of pornographic films, cyberbullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults.
H0: There is a harmful impact of pornographic films, cyberbullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults.
- There is no significant relationship between the kinds of activities that teenagers conduct on the internet and the likelihood of being cyberbullied
- There is a significant relationship between the kinds of activities that teenagers conduct on the internet and the likelihood of being cyberbullied
1.6 significance OF THE STUDY
This research finds that sextortion perpetrators who victimized minors (young adults) were more likely to pressure victims into producing initial sexual images, demand additional images, threaten victims for months, and urge victims to harm themselves. Sextortion was often an aspect of dating violence.
This study will be of great benefit to Nigerian students in the tertiary level. This study will be of significance to the students because it will help them to know the effects of pornographic films, cyberbullying, sextortion and internet addiction.
Furthermore, it will be of benefit to both governments because it will help the government to understand ways in which they can control and eradicate this social vice.
It is anticipated that the findings of this study will be helpful for those involved with designing prevention programmes, in addition to policy makers, schools and parents.
1.7 SCOPE OF THE STUDY
The title of this work clearly indicates the area of study. The issues that will be examined here is the harmful impact of pornographic films alongside cyber bullying, sextortion and internet addiction on children and young adults, a case study of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife.
1.8 LIMITATION OF THE STUDY
Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview)
Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work
1.9 operational Definition of terms
Pornographic Films: Pornographic films are materials that are made solely for sexual arousal and featuring nudity and explicit sexual acts.
Internet addiction: Internet addiction is a harmful lack of control over one's internet consumption that can lead to a decrease in physical and psychological wellbeing, with associated symptoms of distress, anger, loss of control, social withdrawal, familial conflicts, and others. It can accentuate co-morbid symptoms and push people towards isolation. Internet addiction reinforces inequalities: vulnerable populations, in particular people with co-morbid symptoms, have greater risks of suffering from internet addiction. It is shown that internet addiction is a serious condition that likely affects more than ten million Europeans, and possibly tens of millions.
Sextortion: The practice of extorting money or sexual favours from someone by threatening to reveal evidence of their sexual activity.
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