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Some Nepali children are getting addicted to porn. Experts warn of grave consequences

At the age of 11, Sabin (name changed) started watching adult movies. He was redirected to a porn site while watching a Hindi movie online.

When his parents put a tablet in his hands, he got access to the world of online porn. Coming from a well-off family, he had his own room, where he used to stay inside for hours, locked, just watching porn. His parents had no idea what the young boy was learning from the tablet they had given him, with love.

Things got out of hand, and the young boy attempted to sexually assault the domestic worker the family had while his parents were not home. The girl got out of the house unhurt, yet did not tell the family.

Her family later called the child helpline (1098) and with the help of psychologists, who questioned both the children and found out proofs of the assault, along with Sabin’s addiction to porn.

The incident was reported, however, only after the 35-day deadline. Hence, the police did not file a case at the court.

Around a year ago, an unusual call left a staffer at the 1098 helpline astounded. Three boys, of under five years of age, reportedly tried to sexually assault a female classmate at a school in Pokhara. The police found themselves at a pinch to investigate further, legally.

According to section 1 of the Children’s Act, 2018, any child under the age of 10 will not be charged with any legal actions and no penalty or punishment will be imposed on her/him. Hence, the police solved the matter with the parents of the kids and brought them to an understanding.

In 2018, a 13-year-old boy was ‘arrested’ for raping a 12-year-old girl. The boy was kept at the District Police Office in Kavrepalanchok. In custody, the boy started showing unusual behaviours.

According to advocate Tika Prasad Sharma Kandel, “It seemed like the boy had no remorse or realisation that he had done something wrong despite that his obscene behaviours against the girl were ongoing already for a few years.”

During the police investigation, it was revealed that the boy began watching porn from a very young age. He is a single child, from a well-off family with no monitoring from the parents about what he was doing.

An officer involved in the investigation says the boy attacked the neighbouring girl after watching a porn movie. “We found porn videos on his mobile.”

Since he was a minor, he was released on a general date and now is in a juvenile detention centre.

Porn and violence

According to a study by the Child Workers In Nepal (CWIN), an NGO working in Nepal for children, 82 per cent of the children in Nepal use the internet. Out of that, 73.7 per cent of the boys and 26.3 per cent of the girls share personal information with strangers.

Likewise, 3.9 per cent of the children surveyed in the study had one porn website among their top five websites whereas 11 per cent of the children were found exchanging ‘obscene’ texts and photos with various people via the internet. And, more significantly, 66.6 per cent of the children were found watching adult movies.

According to CWIN Project Manager Bharat Adhikari, the 1098 helpline gets 150 calls of sexual assault on average every year. Among them, children below 10 are involved in about five to 10 cases.

A former chief of Women, Children and Senior Citizen Service Directorate in Nepal Police, Pitambar Adhikari, says that there has been an influence of porn or adult movies in the majority of rape cases filed. Adhikari says, “Rape is a crime that originates in one’s psychological state and porn or any adult movie influences that state of mind.” When the perpetrator is a minor, it creates further complications in the legal proceedings, he adds.

Parents and porn

Krishna Thapa, the director at Voice of Children, another child rights NGO, says technologies such as the internet are being misused rather than being used, and it is promoting child sexual abuse. “Today, mobile phones and gadgets are being used as a medium to engage the children. And while browsing YouTube and other sites, they do encounter some kind of obscene videos.”

“Children are curious by nature, and when they encounter these videos, they tend to search it further. Parents are not giving enough time to their children and this adds onto the problem too. And even when the children learn some foul words and ask their parents about their meanings, they get scolded instead. They do not take time to teach the child about the difference between right and wrong.”

Director Thapa says the increase in children’s involvement in sexual activities is not just because of the porn sites. Nepal Telecommunications Authority has already banned porn sites or obscene audio/visual websites, but it is not enough, says psychologist Karuna Kunwar. “Even after the ban, such contents are easily available on YouTube and similar websites and this too affects the children.”

She is in favour of stopping access to obscene websites for children under 18 years of age completely. When children at a young age learn the things that they should have learned only after a certain age, they want to practise them. For example, not knowing that it is rape, children are liable to committing rape as for them they are just copying what they have seen, she elaborates. “There is a lack of sex education in the home and school environment.”

Grave effects

Psychologist Kunwar says when children watch adult movies, negative thoughts including irritation increase, diverting their focus from their studies. They prefer to stay alone or with friends. In many cases, they have insomnia. Some even lose their appetite.

Such children also tend to marry early and treat people like objects. They are as concerning as rape, Kunwar adds.


Published on February 10th, Monday, 2020 8:31 AM


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