Dr. Anthony Policastro

We have laws prohibiting alcohol and tobacco purchases by minors. They are not 100 percent successful. However, they do create limitations in the number of underage users of those products.

We know that traffic rules are not always obeyed. However, enough people do obey them that driving is not as hazardous as it could be.

The best example of this kind of thing is Prohibition. In the long run Prohibition was a failure. People could still obtain alcohol. It was harder to do so. The result was that overall drinking was down. 

In the years prior to Prohibition deaths from cirrhosis of the liver averaged between 12 and 14 deaths per 100,000 people per year. They peaked at 15 deaths per 100,000 people in 1908.

Between 1920 and 1933 deaths from cirrhosis dropped to five per 100,000 people. We know that cirrhosis is a chronic disease. So even after Prohibition ended, it took about 18 years before deaths climbed back up above 10 per 100,000. 

Thus, putting laws into place does have an effect. It might not be a complete effect but it does show results.

Lurie Schlegel is a freshman representative in Louisiana. She is a sex addiction therapist. When she entered the State House, she brought her concerns about addiction to pornography with her. She knew that many of her patients began their addiction using online pornography.

She sponsored a law that required pornography sites to use government ID’s for users to prove they are above the legal age limit. The law passed the State House 96-1. It passed the Senate unanimously.

Six other states followed suit. They were Arkansas, Montana, Mississippi, Utah, Virginia and Texas. Each of those states passed the law with overwhelming majorities and in two of them unanimously. An additional 16 states are considering similar laws.

As a reaction one commonly used porn site pulled out of three of the states altogether. The porn industry is claiming it is a First Amendment violation.

Some of the concern is that individuals like to use the sites anonymously. Requiring a government ID will have some of those users tune out. However, if they have a true addiction that will not be possible.

There is good evidence that adolescents learn more about sex from pornography sites than they do from their parents. 

We see a lot of people expressing concern about what the schools may be teaching their children. They need to have the same level of concern about what the internet might be teaching their children.

The new laws may not stop underage porn viewing completely because there are always ways around the requirements. We see that with alcohol and tobacco. However, they cut down very well on the number of your individuals who currently use those sites.