Members of the European Parliament, in partnership with the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe (FAFCE) and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, hosted a conference Wednesday titled “Exposure of Children to Pornography in the European Union.”
“Access and exposure to pornography affect children and young people’s sexual beliefs, resulting in unrealistic attitudes about sex, greater acceptance of casual sex, belief that women are sex objects, (and) increased children and young people’s sexual uncertainty about their sexual beliefs and values,” Dr. Emiliano Lambiase, a clinical psychologist and psychotherapist from Italy, said in discussing results from recent research.
Exploring the effects of pornography on children is a topic that the European Parliament member Anna Zaborska of Slovakia said needs to be talked about “more openly, especially its addictive aspects.”
The conference featured several speakers besides Lambiase, including Heidi Als Ringheim from a Denmark organization called, “Porn & Society” and Maria Hildingsson of FAFCE.
Francesco Di Lillo, head of the European Union Office for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, shared the church’s resources in combating pornography. Di Lillo introduced attendees to OvercomingPornography.org, a website run by the LDS Church, and showed a church-produced video titled, “What should I do if I see pornography?”
“The video is narrated by children and encourages kids to call pornography, immodesty or sexualized media what it is when they see it,” Di Lillo said. “They are also encouraged to turn it off or turn away and talk to their parents or a trusted adult about their experience.”
Hildingsson shared a disturbing statistic demonstrating the relationship between pornography and sexual exploitation, saying “a study with 854 women in prostitution in nine countries showed that almost half were filmed while in prostitution to produce pornographic contents.”
Als Ringheim cautioned against society’s efforts to normalize pornography.
“We are all human beings, and most of us innately have the knowledge of good and bad — but the way porn is being portrayed as normative, it is bringing an entire generation to a downfall,” she said. “We need to step up as responsible adults and help the growing up generation to discern healthy sexuality from unhealthy.”
Di Lillo concluded his remarks by emphasizing the importance of protecting families, calling them “the very fabric of society,” before reading a sentence from the LDS Church’s “The Family: A Proclamation to the World,” which was published in 1995:
“We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote these measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society.”