The Pornhub dump is a PR stunt

Lisa Strohman

Pornhub announced recently that it has “suspended all previously uploaded content that was not created by content partners or members of the Model Program.” It is estimated that more than 10 million videos have been removed from the site. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

Don’t be fooled.  

It is nothing more than a publicity stunt. Sex is a $100 billion industry.  According to Pornhub Insights, in 2018 alone “there were 4.79 million new videos uploaded to Pornhub” with “12 new videos and 2 hours content” uploaded every minute.”  Every minute there were almost 64,000 new visitors to the site.  

If Pornhub were serious about changing its modus operandi, it would have deleted those videos as opposed to simply “suspending” them. Their actions are merely a face-saving gesture allowing them to appear noble while still retaining their partnerships.  

The porn industry is one of the most powerful in the world and, perhaps worst of all, it is integrated with social media platforms that children live on, such as TikTok, Instagram, and now Snapstories, to name just a few.  Our children are being trained daily to become more sexualized, as the introduction of smartphones and iPads at young impressionable ages is exposing them to platforms that make them accessible to predators who slowly manipulate them into sharing themselves online. 

Sites that allow streaming and video posting reward children with attention and, worse, virtual currencies that encourage children to post even more intimate images.  And these platforms are not innocent bystanders at the mercy of hackers.  For proof, simply visit Pornhub and review their requirements for becoming a “Pornhub model.”  All that is needed is “your” photo next to your username. No state-issued photo id, passport, or anything that proves your age, or even that it is your image in the photo.  

Parents cannot even rely on “experts” to expose the fact that our children are being desensitized into making porn appear normal.  The Journal of American Medicine has reported that the prevalence of sexting has increased in recent years and continues to increase with youth age. However, the Journal does not offer any commentary on sexting’s effects.  It simply acknowledges that it exists and is growing as if it is acceptable teen behavior.

As a clinical psychologist I am disturbed because, when pediatricians are educated that this is typical teen behavior, they may not ask their patients about it — which is how and why I receive many of my counseling cases.  As a parent, I am angered by this failure of major medical journals and organizations to stand firm against this behavior. 

What would these groups say to the family who had an unknown predator steal their 13-year-old’s life after victimizing her secretly for years, or the child who ‘monetized’ her account to gain millions of jewels by ‘selling’ access to private chats with pedophilic men? Ask your children if any of their friends sell photos of their feet to fetish sites for money or exchange photos online with people whom they have never met in real life.  I am betting they do. 

And it is not just sites like Pornhub where this exists.  Mainstream platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Kik, and Reddit all have kids flocking and sharing content that is open for others to comment upon and serves as a window for people to engage in sexual grooming.  

So, when sites like Pornhub blow their trumpets in praise of how they have dumped millions of pornographic videos, don’t join in the celebration. In the amount of time it takes for them to finish their self-congratulatory song, millions of other videos will have been added to their sites and integrated with your children’s social media programs.

Dr. Lisa Strohman is a clinical psychologist and attorney who is widely known for her advocacy and education around mental wellness as it relates to our digital lives. She has established the Digital Citizen Academy, a program offered to schools with an in-home plan that educates, empowers, and inspires balance and prosocial use of technology. Dr. Strohman has appeared on many television, radio, and podcast programs, such as The Doctors, Fox News, Fox & Friends, ABC’s Eyewitness News, and Good Day L.A. 

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