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Porn In US Is Now 'A Public Health Crisis'

 Porn sites get more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined -- Photo: GETTY

Porn sites get more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined -- Photo: GETTY

(UK Telegraph) -- Pornography now is so widespread in the United States that it deserves to be addressed seriously as a major public health crisis, a panel of activists has said.

On the eve of a two-day conference on sexual exploitation, they suggested that porn be tackled in the same manner as teenage smoking or drunk driving.

"There's an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography," said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of Morality in Media, which has campaigned against pornography since 1962.

"There's a lot of science now proving that pornography is harmful," Hawkins told reporters at the National Press Club in Washington. "We know now that almost every family in America has been touched by the harm of pornography."

The Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation summit that opens on Friday in the Washington suburb of Tysons Corner aims to look at pornography as a complex social problem that needs to be framed as a public health issue.

Participants include health professionals, social workers, academics, feminists, faith leaders, campaigners against human trafficking and former members of the multibillion-dollar adult entertainment industry.

"This is a business with considerable political clout," said Gail Dines, a sociology and women's studies professor at Wheelock College in Boston and author of "Pornland: How Porn Has Hijacked Our Sexuality."

Porn sites get more visitors per month than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined, a third of all downloads contain porn and the Internet now hosts 4.2 million porn websites, said Dines, who is also president of the international feminist group Stop Porn Culture.

"Porn is without doubt the most powerful form of sex education today, with studies showing that the average age of first viewing porn is between 11 and 14 – and let me tell you, this is not your father's Playboy," she said.

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