Lessons from St Benedict during COVID-19
April 14, 2020
April 16th: Walk with me
April 16, 2020

Pornography and COVID-19—there are better options!

By Kaelanne Jordan
Email: mediarelations.camsel@catholictt.org
Twitter: @kaelanne1

Fight the New Drug’s (FTND) Jerome Alexander has observed since COVID-19 quarantines began worldwide, people are finding creative ways to pass the time—like watching porn.

The use of pornography, he told Catholic News has increased globally by 12.6 per cent since COVID-19.

“It’s such a business-oriented industry right now in that one of the top sites, Pornhub, [is] trying to be more like a philanthropist company, so they have decided to aid Italy, one of the most devastated countries by giving them free access to their premium content,” Alexander explained.

Popular porn site, Pornhub made headlines by offering free premium access to viewers in France, Spain and Italy—the European countries hardest-hit by COVID-19—and whose citizens are required to stay indoors in an effort to slow the virus’ spread.

The “good news”, Alexander added is that Trinidad is now ranked number 24 for the highest number of Internet searches for pornography per capita in the world. Trinidad has been ranking number one since 2014.

A cnbc.com report highlighted a premium Pornhub subscription normally costs US$$9.99 per month, or US$7.99 per month with a year-long package. Premium offers no ads, faster streaming, high-speed downloads, higher video quality, full DVDs, “discreet billing” and anytime cancellation, according to Pornhub’s website.

This free content, Jerome said, is “more graphic”, violent porn.

“This means a 5-year-old, 6-year-old, a teenager is no longer barred from viewing that content because this content is [now] free,” he said.

Alexander believes because most persons are unaware of the “growing porn pandemic”, its effects will unfortunately be seen post COVID-19.

He commented that the internet usage has spiked as schools across the world are closed, and some parents are now working from home. Online gaming has also increased, he said, referring to popular game: Fortnite, which has “seen a huge spike”.

Statistically, Alexander revealed, the spike in pornography occurs around 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.

Pornhub, he said, has recorded between 5.6 per cent increase in views during these hours.

“…because we are so focused on COVID-19 no one is really paying attention to this. Parents definitely need to keep an eye on their children,” he stressed.

“…this is where I have been a strong advocate that parents need to have these constant conversations with your children about the ever presence of pornography. There’s no substitute for continued conversations,” he said.

Internet filters which are predominantly used to block content considered inappropriate for specific users “can only work so much”. Today’s youth, he said, are now “covering their tracks”. He gave the example of his visit to Form Three boys at a secondary school who shared that they view pornography in incognito mode (in private).

To this end, Fight the New Drug recommends these five creative tips for families in an effort to avoid porn during COVID-19:

  1. Binge-watch FTND’S documentary series Brain, Heart, World

Binging porn can harm your brain and can even be associated with rewiring your sexual template to be into more extreme or violent sexual behaviour. But binging FTND’s new docu-series will have the opposite effect, arming you with all kinds of research, data, stories, inspiration, and humour-filled explanations for conversations with others about the harms of porn. In short, it will grow rather than stunt your intellectual capacities.

  1. Spend the time planning delicious, healthy meals

With the sudden available time, try spending it planning and executing the tasty and healthy home-cooked regimen you haven’t got around to before. Before this crisis passes and you are right back to your busy life full of take-out dinners, take this opportunity to mindfully prepare good food at home—and have fun in the process.

  1. Get creative with exercise—and do it every day

It might seem cliché, but the positive effects of exercise cannot be overstated.

During this time of high anxiety, stress, and isolation, exercise can radically improve your mood, reduce anxiety, and put you in a better mental place. Moving the body encourages neurogenesis, the creation of new brain cells, and helps to make you feel more energetic and motivated. For the record, porn does the opposite, often making consumers feel lazy, unmotivated, and depressed.

  1. Start a “swap” with your friends or neighbours

We can get through social distancing, avoiding crowds and gatherings, without completely isolating ourselves. If you’re into reading, start a book trading circle and pass your favourite reads around. Or swap movie or playlists suggestions—the options go on and on. The point? Stay connected to people even in quarantine, and create a swap that brings new things into everyone’s lives.

  1. Take a break from technology

As difficult as it may be, consider taking this opportunity to take a break from technology.

If your normal life is filled with texts, calls, computer work, news, social media, and overall busyness, try ditching all that just for a couple weeks when it isn’t completely necessary. When you feel bored and restless, resist the instinct to grab your phone.

Research shows that tech breaks can increase your present-moment awareness, improve your sleep, deepen your interpersonal connections, increase your productivity and learning, and help you break the bad habit of mindlessly scrolling through social feeds.