UNITED KING­DOM

The Week (US) - - 14 News -

You fly back to Eng­land and no sooner has your plane touched down than the man in front of you turns on his cell­phone and starts watch­ing hard­core pornog­ra­phy. That’s what hap­pened to a hor­ri­fied col­league of mine re­cently, said Sarah Vine, and “it’s far from an iso­lated in­ci­dent.” Women have told me of sim­i­lar ex­pe­ri­ences on buses, trains, sub­ways, “you name it.” That so many men feel no shame about view­ing highly ex­plicit ma­te­rial in pub­lic tells you “how se­ri­ous this is­sue has be­come.” A par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee re­cently con­cluded that porn is as dam­ag­ing to so­ci­ety as smok­ing. Ac­tu­ally, in­ter­net pornog­ra­phy is worse: It has “stunted the emo­tional well-be­ing of an en­tire gen­er­a­tion.” Teenagers blithely send sexts; men used to watch­ing on­line porn find they can no longer per­form in the real world; and re­ports of sex­ual ha­rass­ment are on the rise. Mean­while, es­tab­lished norms are al­lowed to fray: The su­per­mar­ket chain Sains­bury’s has just an­nounced that it’s go­ing to launch a line of sex toys. There’s not much Par­lia­ment can do to tackle this wave of filth, be­cause most hard-core videos are hosted on for­eign sites. The tide will be stemmed only when Google and other on­line firms wake up to their re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and block porn. “I won’t hold my breath.”

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