opinionBy Peter Kasule
WHILE walking down town Ben Kiwanuka Street in Kampala, I saw some street vendors selling pornographic videos. Embarrassed by the nude pictures on the casings, I shied away.
I noticed a seemingly 12-year-old boy walking in front of me in a school uniform feasting his eyes on the same item. He reached into his pocket and paid sh1,000 for the video.
I followed the young boy and said to him: "Pornography will soon affect your psychological development, you need to avoid it because it is not meant for children like you."
He turned aggressive and shouted at me: "Do not make noise for me, I am not your son," and he walked away. What will happen to that young boy and many others in the habit of watching uncontrolled pornography? Will they ever grow up as responsible men and women?
One of the things young children, especially in urban areas, report to suffer from are effects of pornographic material portrayed through media including television movies.
After watching this they may want to experiment. According to Article 17 sub-section E of the United Nations Convention On The Rights Of The Child, "All member states of the UN shall encourage the development of appropriate guidelines for the protection of the child from information and material injurious to his or her well being".
Psychologist Dr. Victor Cline's findings suggest that memories of experiences that occurred at times of emotional arousal (which could include sexual arousal) are imprinted on the brain by epinephrine, an adrenal gland hormone, and are difficult to erase. Sexual identity develops gradually through childhood and adolescence.
Children do not have a natural capacity until between ages of 10 and 12. As they grow up, children are especially susceptible to influences affecting their development.
Pornography cuts off normal psychological and personality development processes and supplies misinformation about a child's sexuality, sense of self and body that leave the child confused, changed and damaged.
Exposure to pornography usually results in masturbation, sexual addiction, unplanned pregnancies and vulgar language.
Children often imitate what they have seen, read or heard. Studies suggest that exposure to pornography can prompt children into homosexuality against younger, smaller and vulnerable children.
Experts in the field of childhood sexual abuse report that any premature sexual activity in children has two possible stimulants; exposure and experience.
This may mean that sexually deviant children may have been molested or exposed to sexuality through pornography.
We should not get rich at the expense of our children's dignity and future. We can work together to stop children's exposure to this practice if we are to save our next generation.
I, therefore, urge the ethics and integrity ministry and the Kampala Capital City Authority to ban the sale of pornographic movies on the streets and shops.
The writer is a Child Development lecturer at Africa Renewal Christian College