10 Life Lessons Harry Potter has taught me…

  1. That I would really struggle to chose between owning an owl, a cat or a toad.
  2. That ‘muggle’ clothing is actually quite confusing to outsiders.
  3. That an invisibility cloak is possibly one of the coolest things you could own and that Harry definitely doesn’t use it to his advantage (does he not want to see Cho in the shower?)
  4. That ‘happiness can be found in the darkest of places, if only one remembers to turn on the lights’.
  5. That I must always be suspicious of my pets, just in case they turn out to actually be humans at a later date and do their best to murder me.
  6. That love really is the best magic of all.
  7. That if you’re a witch or wizard you can eat and eat and eat and do no exercise and still not gain any weight (Halloween feast anyone???) but sadly the same does not apply to me.
  8. That I should never follow handwritten instructions in a book, even if they help me with my next essay. You can’t trust anyone these days.
  9. That ‘being unfailingly kind’ is a trait ‘people never fail to undervalue’ (thank you Dumbledore).
  10. That being in a friendship group of 3 causes immeasurable amounts of problems, especially if two of you fancy each other!

Porn: What’s the deal?

Until a couple of days ago I had never watched porn. I don’t know if that’s weird…I am only speaking from my own experience. Maybe most people have. It’s just never really been a thing for me. It was never an issue and to be perfectly honest I never really had much of an opinion on it, that is until recently when somebody I know, who works as a teacher, told me that a 10 year old boy was caught watching porn on his phone. I was dumbfounded. Maybe I was naive but it had never occurred to me that children that age would want to access and watch that kind of material. Did they even understand it? At the age of 10 I had my head in Jacqueline Wilson books, not videos of threesomes!

So then I became interested. I started looking into the statistics and according to a survey published in Psychologies magazine in 2010 , one third of 14-16 year old boys had admitted to viewing pornographic images when they were aged 10 or younger. That was five years ago, so with the increase in technology in these past 5 years making it even easier to access porn I can’t imagine the statistics now. I’m sure somebody has written about them but honestly I think it would make me too depressed to read them.

From my brief experience, I have to admit that I was pretty amazed at how easy it is to access, not just what I would call softcore porn but some seriously violent stuff that seemed to just be the norm, including teenage pornography, which is something I wasn’t even aware existed! I even thought I’d start light – a friend had told me about an erotic fiction website that was more badly written than 50 shades of grey…I was intrigued. I thought it would be a laugh like when we played the 50 shades of grey drinking game. But I was wrong. Even the stories were pretty hardcore and when I clicked on one it took me to a porn sight, thus proving that you really are just one click away from endless videos, images and comments. I suppose this shouldn’t have shocked me. After all, in this technology era aren’t we all one click away from anything we desire? But one click away from extremely violent and sexual images and one click away from, say, a Tescos shop, is a little bit different in my eyes! Even when I download films now I’m surrounded by ads for local women who apparently ‘want to fuck’. You can’t get away from it. One of them came up with what looked like cartoon porn! Seriously?! So now you don’t even have to watch ‘real’ women. This just seems a step too far. The world has gone mad.

I know you can’t automatically link the rise in easy access pornography to a rise in sexual assault but surely people have to understand that if you are exposed to anything from an early age it helps to form your ideas and beliefs? Young people are taught when they watch violent movies and play video games, such as Grand Theft Auto, that these aren’t real. That the violence is fake, constructed for entertainment purposes. But does anybody ever teach young people that about porn? Does anybody ever say that actually this isn’t what real sex is? That it is not ok to treat women as objects and victims of violence? No! Sex Education centres around the main issue of the birds and the bees. We perhaps can’t do anything about easy access to pornography, what with technology becoming increasingly used by younger and younger people, but perhaps we can do something about teaching young people about porn. Lets not make it a taboo subject in schools. Let’s talk about the problems with it, the unrealistic expectations and the violence. Hell, kids are continually droned on to about the problems with drugs and unwanted pregnancy but growing up surrounded by sexually explicit and violent images all around you, it is surely more important to teach young people to have respect for themselves and other people?

Perhaps we don’t need to get rid of porn but we do have to start being aware of the effects of it and not be scared to voice an opinion.