Anti Porn: How Porn Hides on Popular Teen Apps

anti porn image

In a recent column for the Boston Globe, anti porn advocate Gail Dines explains how the two most popular social media apps among teens, Instagram and Snapchat, can be gateways to pornography. Today’s teens don’t need to go looking for porn because they have a porn app on their phone. Thanks to the internet and social media, pornography is out to find them whether they want to see it or not.

On Instagram, porn is often hidden behind hashtags and emojis that appear innocuous but are used as secret code to tag and search for particular types of porn…[on Snapchat] a whole ecosystem of online businesses help budding entrepreneurs manage and monetize “premium” pornographic accounts.

Instagram’s community guidelines specify that the platform doesn’t allow inappropriate content or nudity (with some exceptions), and Snapchat has a similar policy. However, from how easy it is to access explicit content, it is clear that these policies are ultimately ineffective.

How Do People Find It?

For example, if users simply search the eggplant and/or peach emojis on Instagram, they will bring up a range of inappropriate content. And people don’t have to be looking for such content to run across it. I personally have encountered explicit images on Instagram because I searched a hashtag that had nothing to do with porn (say, #california) and someone had used that hashtag on an inappropriate image.

According to Dines, on Snapchat, premium pornographic accounts are:

linked to a more innocuous “teaser” Snapchat account and other platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. One of the biggest companies, FanCentro, serves as a channel to a whole universe of private Snapchat accounts and boasts that if one account is taken down, it will seamlessly set up another and redirect traffic. FanCentro also facilitates links from Snapchat to Pornhub, the major pornography site, in just a couple of clicks.

Porn stars are increasingly turning to social media to market themselves directly to users, instead of working with sites such as Pornhub. One adult film industry consultant says, “All of this is a shift away from the (movie) studio system to a system controlled by performers…These (personal accounts) have really exploded in the past year, and some performers are making a ton of money.”

For example, one porn star interviewed in the above story relies primarily on Snapchat to market herself. Users pay a subscriber fee to watch her through her Snapchat account, and she makes more than $1000 per day.

Another woman “posts previews of her racy content on Snapchat and Instagram (on which she has some 126,000 followers), with emojis covering parts of her naked body. She is careful to avoid terminology, such as ‘sex’ and ‘nude,’ and images that could lead to her account being flagged or removed.”

Anti Porn … A Call to Be Wise as Serpents

Despite the severity of the porn epidemic in our society (and it is a serious threat to girls as well as boys), this post is not intended as fearmongering, nor is it intended to promote the idea that social media is inherently evil. Rather, it is a wake up call to parents to be vigilant about investing in their relationships with their children. Parents need to start conversations about sex and internet use early and to have them often. Internet filters are helpful, but they are not enough.

It is impossible for parents to control everything their children do (nor should they want to), and it is impossible to control every avenue through which kids might encounter porn. They might see it on a friend’s phone or on a magazine in the street while you’re taking a family walk (which happened to someone I know).

But instead of panicking and clamping down on their activities, parents should educate themselves, pursue their kids’ hearts, disciple them in the area of sexuality, and diligently pray for them.

For further anti porn information on how to navigate the current porn threat, I highly recommend the “A Parent’s Guide to Pornography” bundle from Axis, which you can find here.

Additional anti porn resources are this document from the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (fair warning that some of the information in it is disturbing), as well as Protect Young Minds, Fight the New Drug and Covenant Eyes.

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Jessica Mouser
Jessica Mouser is a writer for ChurchLeaders.com. She has always had a passion for the written word and has been writing professionally for the past two years. She especially enjoys evaluating how various beliefs play out within culture. When Jessica isn't writing, she enjoys playing the piano, reading, and spending time with her friends and family.

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