Although a digital divide still exists in our world (i.e. 1.1 billion people do not have access to electricity so could not charge a phone or tablet even if they had one), the ownership of mobile devices has grown exponentially in recent years.
Global smartphone users have increased by 40% in the past 4 years, and Statista predicts that 7.33 billion people will own a mobile device by 2023.
With smartphones comes easy access to the internet, which puts the world at your fingertips.
It means that today’s young people have easy access to information on any topic they could imagine, as well as numerous social media platforms and apps to help them connect with others.
For instance, we can’t talk about relationships and sex education (RSE) in the context of technology and the internet, without including pornography in the conversation.
Unfortunately, we know all too well from the young people that we work with that pornography is being viewed by many children and that some also create and share sexually explicit content of their own.
It is so important that RSE addresses this topic to challenge the damaging messages that porn can give young people.
In December, a New York Times article spoke of a particularly disturbing issue. It highlighted the vast amount of illegal content on Pornhub (including revenge porn, sexual assault, and child abuse). Users could freely upload videos with relatively little moderation.
It’s not the first time this has been raised but, this time, we have seen some change. For starters, the major credit cards and Paypal announced they would no longer process payments for Pornhub.
Then Pornhub reacted by banning new uploads from unverified users and disabling downloads to make it harder to copy videos and post elsewhere.
Eventually, they also removed the millions of unverified videos already on the site.
And now they are facing lawsuits from victims of child trafficking.