TEEN CELLPHONE PORN: Have cellphones (specifically smartphones) made porn access an everyday thing for teens?

by Sofia Tosolari

I was a young, liberal teacher at a local Cape Town high school. When the children saw I was 22, new and a little naïve, they took it upon themselves to get my attention. The result: teen cellphone pornthey began exposing me to the intricacies of their little worlds: to cellphone porn, fist fights and parental abuse.

I was soon given access to one favourite Grade 10’s world of secrets, which left me one day staring at a pornographic image on his cellphone.

My teaching career ended soon after that. Having lost contact with the boy in question, I decided to interview another connection - a young man in Grade 12. The topic: cellphone porn in local Cape Town high schools. Although he did not mind being identified, we’ll refer to him simply as Ian.

“They call me the sexpert because I know a lot about sex and stuff, I always found it interesting,” he says.

So, I wondered, where do children get the cellphone porn?

“You can get it anywhere, and it’s free.” He names a website. “You can download scenes or the whole movie.”

Professional imagery? Who makes teen cellphone porn?

“Nope, most of this is in fact simply home-made. Like with the Grade 8s and 9s, there are children making their own videos and showing them around,” says Ian.

Motives? Why keep teen cellphone porn?

“I dunno, it’s a status thing. It’s the same with your virginity, and if you haven’t lost it by Grade 10, there’s something wrong with you,” says Ian.

I shouldn’t be surprised, yet sadly I am...

So while porn has always been around for teenagers to gawk at, it now seems that much easier with the introduction of cellphones, with stories including rainbow parties, where teens gather for an orgy to be filmed on a cellphone.

Sharon Paulus, a social worker at the Parent Centre in Cape Town, confirms this:

“Technology has simply highlighted the seriousness of the problem and taken it to a new level,” she says. “Today, teens make their own blue movies, and with more children having access to cellphones and the Internet, the problem of cellphone porn could be on the increase.”

So there’s clearly a problem. What to do? According to Paulus, “Parents need to listen, to acknowledge their teen’s feelings without blaming or shaming them.”

On a very practical level: “Parents should have rules guiding the use of cellphones and the consequences if these are broken,” she says.

Paulus says that parents need to consider why their child needs a cellphone in the first place; and, if they do, does it need to have a camera, Bluetooth and Internet access?

“Adolescents who are engaging in this kind of activity are really crying out for help,” says Paulus. “They are letting people know through their behaviour that they lack something in their lives. Love and a sense of belonging are very important for children and are two of their basic human needs. If these are not met in the family the child will go looking for it elsewhere, such as in gangs, cults, substance abuse, sex or relationships."

“Adolescents want excitement, seek peer acceptance, and try to find ways to show that they are superior to others. Teens also want to experiment and in the case of teen cellphone porn, it sounds as if there is a need to experiment in a real way and to have the visual proof,” says Paulus.

  • Do you think cellphone porn is a real issue? Is it a cry for help or normal teen rebellion? Please share your thoughts or comments below.

— Parent 24.com

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Comments

  1. Yeah it’s shocking. It’s should be banned, but the free press fighters will argue against that.
    My nehpew tried to introduce my son (9yrs at the time) to cell phone porn. He was traumatised.
    My rule, no cell phone period.

  2. Crazy-hectic, and frightening :(
    My sister-in-law, while still in school, wasn’t allowed a cellphone with a camera or internet access or even colour screen. At the time I thought it was a bit extreme, but I think its a great example to follow. Just because the technology is there, doesn’t mean it has to be given to children. You don’t give your kids the keys to your car, or the gun-safe, or an account at the local blue-movies outlet…

  3. Thanks for the comment Mr Bravery.

    That’s quite hectic. Banning cell phone use altogether does seem to be the only viable option. If I were a parent I would be tempted to cast a commandment in stone that says “thou shalst not use web-enabled phones with bluetooth nor shalst thou have free reign on the Internet until thou art 18!” Something like that…

    It seems that all we have are futile things like safe-search, yet nothing to stop children simply posing as 18 year olds on the web. Just Google “porn” in Google images and presto! (don’t try that at home kids).

  4. @baldricman: very good point there (about not giving such tech to our kids just because it’s available). My guess is that parents would want to their kids to have mobile phones for emergencies and to know where their offspring are. Giving them one equiped with web-access and movie-making tools is just asking for trouble.

    My first phone was a ‘black & white’ nokia 3210 (those grey ones) which I bought when I was 16. At some stage I had pixelated porn on my phone. It was seemingly innocent, yet the idea of having it to impress my mates at the time was still the same…

  5. I agree with Galen, banning cellphones seems a bit extreme. I would look to a mobile option that has basic telephonic capabilities – NO web access, not even Mxit.

    My question though is at what age can a kid get a cellphone (Basic model)

  6. Thanks for the comment Aslam.

    I suppose giving your child a basic cellphone that’s simply for communication purposes should happen when your child starts going out or away on trips etc. However, kids do start hitting the social scene earlier these days… 16?

  7. It is the responsibility of the parent to set age restrictions on their TV/DSTV etc, however, some parents don’t care or do not have a clue.
    There should be a law against children having phones that can access content in any way. Parents who provide such phones should be held accountable or fined. Services should prevent parents for the sake of their children. Ok you guys can take it from there… ciao

  8. The Internet is full of teen porn sites. Men who were never attracted to underage girls are conditioning themselves through orgasm to become pedophiles. Once you develop a fetish is is almost impossible to turn it back. Women do not want damaged goods. We do not deserve to have even ex teen porn masturbators in our life. Please spare us since the media keeps feeding your fetish though advertising and other ways that will trigger you. Once you start you almost never come back. Please leave us nice women alone. We deserve better . We do not deserve to have ex teen porn masturbators in our life.

  9. I’m not touching that one with a five-foot pole… (and that’s not a sexual thing, I promise)

  10. I object to the major companies not taking any responsibilty for easy access to porn or unsolicited downloads. In fact they facilitate & profit from it. Just look at the small print in the late night ads for downloads to your phone. Shame on them. I & several friends keep getting links sent to us since we voted for a contestant on a local talent show. They assume we’re teenagers with rampant hormone drives LOL but, seriously, you do see how easy it is for kids to access this stuff, don’t you? Shame on you Vodacom, Mtn, Endemol etc!!!

  11. @Mags: What did you get sent that made it sound / look like you & your friends were horny teenagers!?

  12. A few of us moms, aunts, grans etc let the kids vote via sms for their favorite “idol” on the tv show. Shortly after that we all got a “service message” which said we must download a message. Thinking it was from service provider, those of us with 3G phones downloaded from the link, which took us to erotic-type website. Fairly explicit stuff. One gran, who’s phone is not 3G, sent a very polite “thank you but I can’t access internet”. She’s pay-as-you-go & was horrified when her balance disappeared. After many calls to her service, wanting an explanation, she ended up threatening legal action if her balance wasn’t reinstated. After a few weeks she got a letter, posted from the UK, with R80 SA currency in it. Weird! This was some time ago so I’ve forgotten who she said it was from. Parents should check their kids phones. The entertainment industry is not all sweetness and light. Lots of grey areas

  13. From Denise:

    “I’m 21, and my 15 year old sister and I have just become close. She tells me stories about the things going on in a school i left a little over 2 years ago and I’m horrified. I’m sure some of these things were happening while I was there, but I didn’t know about it.

    I think “cell phone” usage (texting, picture messaging, constantly having your headphones in you rears) and never TALKING to each other face to face is a huge issue. And the fact that these teens are unable to have a face to face conversation with a crush but can send nude photographs says a lot about their maturity levels. And the fact that they just aren’t READY to be engaging in anything more sexual than kissing yet. Children are peer pressured into things like this and they know it, and they choose to feel dirty and shameful rather than be viewed as an outcast.

    Teen rebellion wasn’t a thing of our parents age because parents weren’t afraid to instill fear and respect into their children. Now, however, children don’t have any respect for their parents or themselves. So if this is rebellion, the only ones to blame are the parents. At least that’s my opinion.”

  14. Hi Denise. Thank you for your comment. It is a scary world for children these days and I’m quite honestly poop-scared to have any children of my own! I think it’s quite easy to “blame the parents” but it’s obvious that there’s more to this issue than that.

  15. I think restricting kids’ cellphone use is a lazy approach to parenting. Children should be taught to make good choices instead of being given endless boundaries. Look at how many Muslim nations are: the people there are not allowed any sexual freedom and ultimately become pervs (go to Google trends and type in ‘child porn’ or ‘rape porn’, check which countries pop up). Just because a child happens to come across internet porn one time (and don’t forget a lot of download sites have porn banners/ads) doesn’t mean they’re going to become rapists or make sex videos and whatnot. At 11:59pm it’s their choices that determine the people they will become tomorrow. Parents always find it uncomfortable to talk about sex and ALL its aspects. Not just the STDs, the pregnancy, etc. because you as an adult know well enough that that is not what sex is all about. If it was, no one would do it. I think it is sad that the only sex information kids get is from porn (I am talking about how satisfying and good for the body it is). Parents should really start doing their jobs and stop expecting L.O. and Biology teachers to teach them everything because 1. Non-STD and non-teen-pregnancy information is not in the LO syllabus and South Africa barely teaches sex-ed, 2. They find it just as awkward as you do, but those aren’t their kids.

    You can give a kid a bottle of whiskey, but you can’t make him drink if he doesn’t want to or keep him from drinking if he wants to. Rather teach him why not to want to, because he’s going to get a lot of offers of that whiskey all through his life. The rest, unfortunately, is up to him.

  16. Thank you for your input Qamran. While I agree with that you say, it is clear that there still needs to be some kind of restriction when it comes to teens under 18. Cellphones have made it easy to engage in the taboo – and the fact that sex is almost classed as taboo for teens, the more they are intigued to experiment and push the boundaries. If there is little control over teen cellphone use, this is almost inevitable; not for every child, but for enough to cause concern. Consider (in a different but similar context) the most abused drugs in the world. It is almost always the ones that are easiest to obtain and which are not heavily monitored and enforced. Your thoughts?

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